When Israeli spacecraft “Genesis”, built by SpaceIL, crashed on the surface of the moon, the satellite it was carrying not only the hopes and dreams of a private company to become the first to land on the moon of our planet. In addition, the on Board module carrying a number of scientific devices, including one “gadget” that provide the American space Agency NASA. So, as pointed out by the portal Space.com the Agency specialists consider that the equipment could survive the fall “Bereshit” on the surface of the moon.
We are talking about the so-called lunar retroreflector array (Lunar Retroreflector Array LRA), which represents something like a lighthouse. Metal spherical device contains a set of quartz cubic mirrors designed to determine the exact location of the spacecraft relative to the Earth. The presence of several such devices on the surface of any planetary body allows for very precise landing on the surface of the object. In other words, these retroreflector represent something like “landing lights”. Thus in future missions the same moon, scientists from NASA will be able to find these retroreflector. Read more about these devices and their functions can be in one of our previous articles.
“Yes, we believe that the laser retroreflector array could experienced a fall. However, he has probably separated from the main body of the lander Beresheet”, — quotes the words of David Smith of the Massachusetts Institute of technology (there were developed this device) portal Space.com.
“We certainly don’t know what side to Land it on the surface of the moon. Perhaps he is upside down, however, 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 cube mirrors so that the signal could be reflected back to its source. At the same time, the task is not easy”, — said the scientist.
“Genesis” crashed on the lunar surface result in shutdown of the engines during landing, when the craft was just 150-metres from the satellite. According to the latest data the reason for switching off the engine was a programming error in the Central computer of the lander. The investigation continues. The final results will be announced in the coming weeks.
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