Technology

NASA equipment, sent with Bereshit to the moon, could survive the fall of the apparatus

When the Israeli spacecraft "Bereshit",built by SpaceIL, crashed on the surface of the moon, he was carrying not only the hopes and dreams of a private company to become the first to land on a satellite of our planet. In addition, there were several scientific devices aboard the module, including one “gadget,” which was provided by the US aerospace agency NASA. So, as the Space.com portal indicates, the agency's experts believe that this equipment could have survived the fall of Bereshita on the surface of the moon.

It's about the so-called moonRetro-reflector array (Lunar Retroreflector Array, LRA), which is something like a lighthouse. The metal spherical device contains inside a set of quartz cubic mirrors designed to determine the exact position of the spacecraft relative to the Earth. The presence of several such devices on the surface of some planetary body allows for a very accurate landing on the surface of this object. In other words, these retroreflectors are something like “landing lights”. Thus, in the course of future missions to the same moon, NASA scientists will be able to find these retroreflethors. You can read more about these devices and their functions in one of our previous articles.

“Yes, we believe that the retro-reflector laserthe array could have survived the fall. However, most likely, he separated from the main body of the Bereshit planting module, the portal Space.com quotes David Smith from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (the device was developed there).

“We, of course, do not know which side toEarth it lies on the surface of the moon. Perhaps it is located upside down, but the device has a 120-degree angle of reception of the laser signal, and we, in turn, need to see only one of the 0.5-inch cubic mirrors so that the signal can reflect back to its source. At the same time, this doesn’t make it any easier for us, ”the scientist added.

"Bereshit" crashed on the lunar surface inas a result of shutting down the engines when landing, when the device was only 150 meters from the satellite. According to the latest data, the cause of engine shutdown was a software error of the central computer of the landing module. The investigation into the incident continues. Its final results will be announced in the coming weeks.

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