Beresheet, which means “Genesis” or “in the beginning” in Hebrew, would have been the first robotic lander on the moon built by a private organization, Space IL from Israel.
With high hopes, the mission began.
It rocketed off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 in February, orbited the moon, took a selfie, and then the engine failed and they lost all communications.
The mission cost about $100 million, far less than government-sponsored lunar spacecraft, but it highlighted the trade-off in such faster and cheaper projects. The missions are also inherently riskier, and their backers must be willing to accept periodic failures.
This mission was started by 3 young men, Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub, to inspire Israelis to get into science and engineering. They had hoped to win the Google Lunar X prize, but the deadline passed. The X Prize Foundation agreed to give them $1 million if they landed successfully. Though they had failure, the Foundation will still give them the money.
We have to encourage more space exploration!! Hawk and Young are pleased that they still will receive the money. It is still the first privately funded craft to reach the moon. That’s no small feat. We hope they invest that money into more space exploration pursuits.