One and a half weeks after the fatal accident while performing the landing procedure of the Bereshit apparatus, the lunar orbital probe LRO recorded the appearance of new damage on the lunar surface in the area of the supposed fall.
Launched by NASA on June 18, 2009, the lunar orbital probe (LRO) continues to be used to obtain a large amount of valuable scientific information.
So on April 22, 2019, the LRO probe made an interesting photograph in the intended area of the Bereshit apparatus's fall, which revealed the secret of the place of its accident.
The LRO probe earlier on December 16, 2018 already flew over this place and it became possible to see how the surface of the Moon was transformed after the fall of the Bereshit vehicle.
According to preliminary calculations, the Bereshit unit flew 16-20 km further than the estimated landing site. And the place of his fall was to be found in a zone with a diameter of 140 km in the previously planned landing area of the lunar surface in the Sea of Clarity.
Red numbers - the height of the Bereshit apparatus above the surface of the Moon at two fixed points from which photographs of the lunar surface were sent to them.
The latest data from SpaceIL MCC during the landing run:
The total mass of the Bereshit apparatus when it strikes the lunar surface: 150 kg (the apparatus itself) +76 kg (remaining fuel) = 226 kg.
The last 4 seconds of the life of the device according to the data center (from 678 to 149 meters reduction):
And what happened on the lunar surface in the Sea of Clarity is a new crater and a big boom - a completely destroyed apparatus.
As expected, the diameter of the formed crater after the fall of the device is about 7-8 meters. The Bereshit device crashed into the surface of the Moon at a small angle (~ 8 °), the crater turned out to be elongated.
Data from LRO.
The coordinates of the darkest pixel in the center in the right-hand figure are
Main characteristics of the mission and the lunar spacecraft "Bereshit":
- the beginning of the mission: February 22, 2019
- end of the mission: an accident occurred (falling on the moon) while attempting to land on April 11, 2019, a complete loss of communication with the device at an altitude of 149 meters;
- the trajectory of movement to the moon (in fact, the maximum possible): complex, changeable by performing a series of maneuvers (turning on engines for a few seconds or even minutes) to increase the apogee of its elliptical upholstery after each orbit around the Earth, then moving to the lunar orbit with subsequent landing;
- The height of the Bereshit apparatus is about 1.5 meters, the diameter is 2 meters (2.3 meters between landing supports);
- weight 530 kilograms with fuel (fuel weight (hydrazine) - 380 kg), 150 kg without fuel;
- scientific instruments: a magnetometer (sent a part of scientific data while the device was in orbit of the Moon and in the process of landing), an array of laser corner reflectors (the LRO probe will search for them).
How to assemble the unit "Bereshit":
The Bereshit device was to land on April 11, 2019 on a dark lava plain, known as the Sea of Clarity, not far from the region in which the astronauts of the Apollo 17 mission descended on December 11, 1972.
The Bereshit apparatus in orbit of the Moon and during landing used a magnetometer and transmitted some of the scientific data on the magnetic field of the Moon to the PCO.
Unfortunately, due to a software error in the operation of the onboard computer and the engines of the Bereshit apparatus, an abnormal situation occurred during a landing, which led to the main engine disconnecting and an uncontrolled fall at high speed onto the lunar surface.
And so the space voyage of the first private lunar apparatus ended.
8 years of development, project cost 100 million dollars, 200 volunteers, scientists and engineers, 47 days of flight and more than 6.5 million kilometers overcome, at the start 380 kilograms of fuel, the forced engine “LEROS 2b”, 6 onboard cameras, a magnetometer, an array of laser corner reflectors , and 1 landing attempt, in which a 150-kilogram apparatus with 76 kilograms of fuel (hydrazine) in tanks at high speed fell to the surface of the moon.
The total mass of the Bereshit device when hitting the lunar surface: 150 kg (the device itself) +76 kg (remaining fuel) = 226 kg, speed over 940 m/s, the kinetic energy of the Bereshit device at the moment of collision was at least 103 MJ which is equivalent to an explosion of 25 kg of TNT (trinitrotoluene).
In the picture below, a white bar is 100 meters.