It has been a few weeks since Israel's first attempt to land on the Moon has fallen into catastrophe at the last moment. The SpaceIL Beresheet launcher crashed to the moon after an engine failure in the final moments of approach, but new information appears to suggest that the engine may have had a good reason to shut down.
A SpaceIL's recent statement provides a little more context for the way the mission has come to an unfortunate end, though there are many questions left.
"According to a preliminary survey of the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet landing maneuver, it appears that a manual command has been entered into the spacecraft's computer," the statement said. "This resulted in a chain reaction in the spacecraft during which the main engine shut down, which prevented further activation."
During the live stream of the spacecraft's last descent, everything seemed to be going well The fast-thinking SpaceIL engineers gave the spacecraft a command to restart the engine and fired successfully, but the lander crashed to the lunar surface and failed to recover.
A terrific end to Israel's first attempt to land a spaceship on the Moon, but SpaceIL does not accept the defeat. The company is already working on what it has called "Beresheet 2.0" and intends to land a probe successfully on the Moon sooner rather than later. Details about this mission and its last launch date still have to be set.