NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine has congratulated the team which sent the first privately-funded mission into lunar orbit — even though it crashed into the surface of the moon. Its final photo was taken Thursday just 7.5 kilometers above the surface of the moon.
But Space.com reports that’s not the end of the story:
On Saturday Morris Kahn, the billionaire businessman, pilanthropist and SpaceIL president, confirmed that the SpaceIL team is meeting this weekend to begin planning the Beresheet 2.0 mission. “In light of all the support I’ve got from all over the world, and the wonderful messages of support and encouragement and excitement, I’ve decided that we’re going to actually build a new halalit — a new spacecraft,” Kahn said in a video statement posted on Twitter by SpaceIL. “We’re going to put it on the moon, and we’re going to complete the mission.”
The team behind Beresheet knew all along that the mission’s design included risks. In order to keep the spacecraft small enough to piggyback with another spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket, the engineering team had to design the craft without any backup systems. Nevertheless, before its ultimate failure, the spacecraft withstood multiple glitches while in Earth orbit and during the early stages of landing…. NASA knows as well as anyone just how difficult spaceflight can be. The moon’s surface is littered with dozens of expired spacecraft, and although many ended their missions smoothly, several made unplanned crash landings, including NASA’s own Surveyor 2 and 4 missions during the 1960s.
Somewhere in the spacecraft’s wreckage are 25 data disks backing up crucial human knowledge that were meant to last one billion years. The co-founder of the group behind the disk notes that “airplane black boxes survive stronger impacts, and our disc is less breakable… It was probably thrown a few kilometers away — a 30 million page frisbee on the moon.”
They’re now assembling a team of crash experts, engineers, “and even a treasure hunter or two… to figure out what might remain, and then track it down.” Their preliminary response from several experts: their Lunar Library “is definitely on the Moon, and it is also likely to be intact….”
“We have either installed the first library on the moon, or we installed the first archaeological ruins of early human attempts to build a library on the moon…”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.