Israel — SpaceIL
Beresheet: Lunar Landing

Mission Details

Mission Name: Beresheet
Mission Type: Lunar Lander
Operator: SpaceIL
Launching State: Israel/United States
Location: Impact site identified by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Latitude: 32.5956°N
Longitude: 19.3496°E
Launch Date: 21 February 2019, 1:45 UT
Landing Date: 11 April 2019
Image Source: NASA


Beresheet (Hebrew: בראשית), which means “in the beginning,” was a private mission to the Moon by Israeli non-profit SpaceIL. Beresheet successfully reached the Moon, but crash-landed on 11 April 2019. Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has spotted the impact site, a grazing blow at 32.5956°N, 19.3496°E.

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Heritage Consideration

Beresheet is the first private mission to the Moon. In addition, the lander carried with it a disc containing the Arch Lunar Library, a 30 million page archive of human history and civilization coveringall subjects, culutres, nations, languages, genres and time periods. It was also revealed, several months after the hard landing, that the Arch Lunar Library also contained dehydrated tardigrades.

Object on or Related to Site

Object Name: Beresheet
Cospar: 2019-009B
Norad: N/A
Location: Precise location unknown or undisclosed.
Launch Date: 22 February 2019, 01:45 UT
Landing Date: 11 April 2019
Deployment: N/A
End Date: N/A
Function: High resolution imagery and measuring of magnetic field.
Image Source: NASA


Beresheet was about 5 feet (1 meter) tall by 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) wide with its landing gear and legs deployed. The lander separated first from the rocket, taking the long route to the Moon to save fuel by employing gravitational forces to propel itself. Beresheet slowly widened an elliptical orbit around Earth until it was captured by the Moon’s gravity and ultimately commanded to descend.

Built to win the now-defunct $20 million Google Lunar XPrize, Beresheet was meant to inspire more Israelis to pursue STEM careers. In addition to providing high-resolution imagery from the surface, Beresheet would have measured the magnetic field at its landing site in Mare Serenitatis, which has magnetic anomalies detected by Kaguya, Lunar Prospector, and the Luna 21 mission.

Understanding the Moon’s magnetism teaches us about its history. While Earth has a global magnetic field caused by the continued churning of liquid metal near the core, the Moon does not. But 3.6 billion years ago, the Moon had a magnetic field just as strong as Earth’s. When new-forming rocks solidify from their melted states, they lock in traces of the ambient magnetic field at the time. By looking at the ages of different regions and the strength of the magnetic field embedded in rocks, scientists can piece together the Moon’s history.

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