The ‘Beresheet’ probe, Israel’s first privately financed probe in the world destined for the lunar surface, crashed into the satellite on Thursday after presenting a series of technical faults during the descent manoeuvre, according to the local newspaper ‘Jerusalem Post’.

As the spacecraft approached the Moon, the Israeli firm SpaceIL lost contact on several occasions. The scientists, who expected the mission to make landfall within minutes, believe the probe crashed into the moon’s surface after engine failure.

Beresheet’, which in Hebrew refers to the biblical phrase ‘In the beginning’, had traveled through space for seven weeks in a series of expanding orbits around the Earth before moving to the gravitational influence of the moon last week.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated that Israel will continue to try. “Israel will land on the Moon,” he said.

So far, only three countries have managed to make a “soft” landing on the moon’s surface: the United States, the former Soviet Union and China.

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