ISRAEL – An Israeli spacecraft designed to touch down on the moon crashed during a landing attempt Thursday.
The country’s Beresheet spacecraft reportedly suffered an engine malfunction on its descent and crashed into the lunar surface at a less than ideal velocity.
Before the failure—and while still 22 kilometers up—Beresheet beamed back a “selfie” of the spacecraft with the moon in the background. A placard that reads, “SMALL COUNTRY, BIG DREAMS” is visible in the photo.
If the landing had been a success, Israel would have joined only three other countries who have successfully landed on the moon—China, Russia, and the United States.
The $100 million lander was supposed to touch down on a plain in the Sea of Serenity. If the mission had gone according to plan, Beresheet would have snapped photos and measured the magnetic properties of the moon before shutting down.
Israeli space organization SpaceIL said they’ll provide more details on the failed mission later on.