One Giant Leap for a Small Country
Today, April 11, 2019, Israel makes history as it becomes the fourth country to land on the moon. The other three are the United States, the Soviet Union, and China. Beresheet, Genesis, has entered the moon’s orbit and has a planned landing tonight at 10:30PM at the Sea of Serenity.
This mission has already set new precedents. It has become the first space mission sponsored by a non-governmental agency and privately funded. This mission allows Israel to become only the seventh nation to send a spacecraft into the moon’s orbit. Beresheet’s mission has covered over 3 million miles in the earth’s orbit, and 1 million miles in the moon’s orbit. While in the moon’s orbit it took photos of the dark side of the moon.
Once landing on the moon Beresheet will have some final tasks, including taking a selfie and photos of the landing area to prove that it landed safely, and measure the magnetic field of the moon as part of an experiment in collaboration with the Weizmann Institute. It is not expected to return to earth.
Israelis across the country, and millions more people around the world, are set to watch and celebrate Beresheet’s landing on the moon. SpaceIL will also give live feeds from its Facebook page and on YouTube.
To paraphrase Neil Armstrong’s message when he stepped on the moon in July 1969, today is one giant leap for a small country. Congratulations to SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries for a monumental achievement today.
(Source: The Jerusalem Post; Eytan Halon)