The Israeli spacecraft — called Beresheet — attempted a soft touch down, but suffered technical problems on its descent to the Moon’s surface. It was the first privately funded mission to the Moon.
The project has cost about $100m (£76m) and has paved the way for future low-cost lunar exploration.
“We didn’t make it, but we definitely tried. “I think that the achievement of getting to where we got is really tremendous, I think we can be proud,” said project originator and major backer Morris Kahn.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, watching from the control room near Tel Aviv, said: “If at first you don’t succeed, you try again.”
The spacecraft was lifted into space on board the Falcon 9 rocket on February 22, 2019 and it entered the lunar orbit on April 4, 2019. Beresheet weighed just about 585 kilograms
The descent, from an altitude of about 15 miles, began on time just after 3 p.m. EDT. At that point, the spacecraft was about 500 miles from the intended landing site on a broad plain known as Mare Serenitatis.
Only government space agencies from the former Soviet Union, the US and China have achieved soft lunar landings.
India also aims to achieve the soft landing spot to the moon through Chandrayaan-2, which includes a orbiter, a lander and a rover. The Rs 800 crore project, however, has been facing repeated delays and is now expected to lift off from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh using the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III in the next few months.