Privately Funded Israeli Spacecraft Heads Toward Lunar Landing

Pablo Tucker
March 8, 2019

An image of the Earth and Israel's Beresheet spacecraft en route to the Moon.

The photo was taken during a slow spin before the Moon's gravitational force will take effect.

The sign also has an inscription that reads "Small country big dreams".

The selfie shows the aircraft with the Earth in the background while it was 37,600 kilometres away.

The trip is scheduled to last seven weeks, with the Beresheet due to touch down on 11 April.

The Beresheet lander, which is the size of a dishwasher and takes its name from the Hebrew phrase for "In the Beginning", was built by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries with almost $100 million in backing from Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn, Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson and other private donors. On Feb. 21, the lander Beresheet-Hebrew for "in the beginning"-hitched a ride aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying Indonesia's Nusantara Satu satellite into orbit and set off".

Tuesday's selfie, which was taken above Australia, showcases the plaque Beresheet (Genesis in Hebrew) was outfitted with.

The project originally launched as an effort to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE, which called for building, launching and landing an unmanned spacecraft on the moon. Apart from landing on the moon, the spacecraft is also expected to measure the lunar magnetic field, which will help scientists understand the moon's formation.

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