National Geographic's 'Rookie Moonshot: Budget Mission To The Moon' Airs Tonight!

A new program from National Geographic delves into the Israeli Beresheet mission that attempted to land on the surface of the moon.

''Rookie Moonshot: Budget Mission To The Moon'' airs tonight (April 25) at 9 p.m. EDT/PDT.

The Beresheet spacecraft launched in late February 2019 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. From mission control in Yehud, Israel, team members followed the robotic mission's steady approach towards the moon. The goal was to land on the lunar northern hemisphere, on a site within Mare Serenitatis. But as Beresheet finally attempted a landing on April 11, 2019, it suffered a technical glitch and crashed into the moon.

Related: The Moon's Surface Is Totally Cracked

The series covers the project's beginnings up to their descent. The program shows viewers the early project notes that the three engineers behind the Beresheet mission —— Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub —— wrote down at a bar. They went on to form SpaceIL when they got financial backing from billionaire businessman Morris Kahn. The spacecraft is the result of a partnership between SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries.

The footage in the program also follows Beresheet's final moments, as experienced by the members of mission control. 

Kahn, who is also the president of SpaceIL, confirmed days after the mission's failed lunar descent that Israel may attempt a second Beresheet mission in the future. 

"Rookie Moonshot: Budget Mission To The Moon" airs tonight on the National Geographic Channel at 9 p.m. ET/PT. 

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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.