Israel launched Beresheet spacecraft with a mission to capture Moon and collect data about the magnetic fields of the Moon. It entered the lunar orbit last Thursday and captured a beautiful image of the Moon.
Beresheet Sending Images of Moon to Earth
Beresheet is expected to enter the lunar orbit by April 11, 2019, at 4 pm. There’s no crew on the spacecraft. Once it lands safely on the Moon, Israel will become the 4th country in the world for achieving this milestone. Other three countries which made a soft landing on the Earth’s natural satellite are US, China, and the Soviet Union.
Beresheet was launched on top of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on 21 February 2019. The unique thing about this mission is that it is the first ever private mission of reaching the surface of the Moon.
The spacecraft was named as Beresheet meaning “beginning”. A non-profit organization in Israel, SpaceIL, initiated the project in collaboration with the government-controlled organization, Israel Aerospace Industries.
According to the latest press release, both the organizations will be working together in the upcoming weeks; conducting a series of possible maneuvers with the spacecraft. Their main focus will be ensuring a soft landing on the Moon.
The idea of the Beresheet mission actually came out during the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. The competition was to send an unmanned spacecraft in space that would land on the moon.
However, the competition couldn’t make it to the final as the organizers started to feel that the finalists won’t be able to make it happen. The grand prize was worth $30 million dollars and the deadline of the competition was set to March 31, 2018. But, they had to quit earlier.
Beresheet will take the measurements of the Moon’s magnetic fields
Although Lunar Xprize competition couldn’t realize, the government of Israel decided to still pursue the mission by launching the 397 pounds spacecraft. SpaceIL claims that the probe of the spacecraft will land at the Northern hemisphere of the moon.
As the site comes with magnetic anomalies, Beresheet will be using a magnetometer to take the measurements of the magnetic fields for further experiment. Beresheet is expected to share the collected data with NASA.
They also put a time capsule in the spacecraft that consists of three disks. These disks contain symbols of Israel, the Bible, children’s books, and dictionaries in 27 different languages, the Bible and the Children’s book that served as the inspiration for the project. This will impact other people worldwide.
Both the spacecraft and the time capsule will remain on the surface of the Moon for an indefinite time. Its soft landing will open a new direction of research and experiment.