Israel isn’t going back to the moon after all.
Two months after the Beresheet spacecraft crashed on the surface of the moon, SpaceIL, the group that built it, said it will not make a second attempt to land a craft safely on the heavenly body.
Instead, the Israeli non-profit organization announced in a statement and on social media, “we will seek out another, significant objective for Beresheet 2.0. More details to follow…”
SpaceIL also said that: “Repeating the journey to the moon that was already received as a successful, record-breaking journey doesn’t feel that we are raising the bar to meet new challenges.”
On April 13, two days after the washing machine-sized spacecraft crashed into the moon — a faulty sensor led the engine to turn off prematurely — SpaceIL’s chairman, Morris Kahn, announced Beresheet Project 2. “We are going to actually put a new spacecraft on the moon and we are going to complete the mission,” the South African-born billionaire said. Kahn donated a large percentage of the $100 million that it took to create the first Beresheet moonshot.
But in the company’s new statement, it said that after “in-depth discussions on the appropriate nature of Beresheet 2’s mission,” it “reached the conclusion that the attempt to repeat the moon journey isn’t challenging enough.”
The spacecraft was developed by SpaceIL, in conjunction with Israel Aerospace Industries, in response to the Google Lunar X Prize competition, which challenged nongovernmental groups to land a spacecraft on the moon.
The Israel Space Agency announced in May that it would put about $5.6 million toward Beresheet 2.