After Failed Beresheet Landing, SpaceIL Will Go Someplace Besides the Moon

An artist's illustration of the Beresheet moon lander built by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries in space. The lander entered orbit around the moon on April 4, 2019.
An artist's illustration of the Beresheet moon lander built by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries in space. The lander entered orbit around the moon on April 4, 2019. (Image credit: SpaceIL)

The Israeli organization SpaceIL will not be performing a lunar return for its second Beresheet mission after all, according to a recent tweet.

"This time, we will not go to the moon," began the message that SpaceIL published on Tuesday (June 25). "Beresheet's journey to the Moon was already received as a successful, record-breaking journey. Instead we will seek out another, significant objective for Beresheet 2.0. More details to follow…"

Related: Israeli Lunar Lander Snaps Amazing Photos of the Far Side of the Moon

The Beresheet mission launched in February 2019 and successfully completed a six-week journey to the moon. On April 4, Beresheet was captured by the moon's gravity and entered into a lunar orbit.

However, the 5-foot-tall (1.5 meters) spacecraft suffered an engine failure during its landing attempt on April 11. If Beresheet had safely reached the lunar surface, Israel would have become the fourth nation to softly touch down on the moon, and the vehicle would have become the first privately funded spacecraft to explore the moon's surface.

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Shortly following the crash, SpaceIL president Morris Kahn announced there would be a Beresheet 2.0. "We're going to actually build a new halalit — a new spacecraft," Kahn said in a video statement posted by SpaceIL to Twitter on April 13, two days after the crash. "We're going to put it on the moon, and we're going to complete the mission." (Kahn funded a large portion of the mission; the billionaire businessman covered roughly 40% of the project's total $100 million cost.)

Plans appear to have changed since April. The cryptic June 25 tweet offered little else other than an image of the words, "Dare To Dream," and some replies to comments in the tweet's thread.

A view of the far side of the moon captured by the Beresheet lander during its lunar orbital insertion on April 4, 2019. (Image credit: SpaceIL/Eliran Avital)

"While the landing was clearly disappointing, getting to the Moon, in itself, was a huge achievement," SpaceIL wrote early Wednesday (June 26) in a comment-reply.

SpaceIL built and operated Beresheet along with the government-owned Israel Aerospace Industries. Beresheet launched into space atop a used SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Feb. 21, 2019.

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Doris Elin Urrutia
Contributing Writer

Doris is a science journalist and contributor. She received a B.A. in Sociology and Communications at Fordham University in New York City. Her first work was published in collaboration with London Mining Network, where her love of science writing was born. Her passion for astronomy started as a kid when she helped her sister build a model solar system in the Bronx. She got her first shot at astronomy writing as a editorial intern and continues to write about all things cosmic for the website. Doris has also written about microscopic plant life for Scientific American’s website and about whale calls for their print magazine. She has also written about ancient humans for Inverse, with stories ranging from how to recreate Pompeii’s cuisine to how to map the Polynesian expansion through genomics. She currently shares her home with two rabbits. Follow her on twitter at @salazar_elin.