First pri­vate Is­rael lu­nar mis­sion to be launched this week

Sun.Star Pampanga - - SCIENCE! - AMAT GAN, Is­rael (AP) — A non­profit Is­raeli con­sor tium said Mon­day that it hopes to make his­tory this week by launch­ing the first pri­vate air­craft to land on the moon.

SpaceIL and state-owned Is­rael Aero­space In­dus­tries told a news con­fer­ence that the land­ing craft — dubbed “Beresheet,” or Ge­n­e­sis — will take off from Florida, pro­pelled by a SpaceX Fal­con rocket on its week­s­long voy­age to the moon.

The launch is sched­uled late Thurs­day in the United States, early Fri­day in Is­rael. It had been orig­i­nally slated for last De­cem­ber.

SpaceIL CEO Ido An­teby and Opher Doron, gen­eral man­ager of the IAI’s space di­vi­sion, said the space­craft will sling­shot around the Earth at least six times in or­der to reach the moon and land on its sur­face on April 11.

If the SpaceIL mis­sion is suc­cess­ful, Is­rael will be­come the fourth coun­try to land a space­craft on the moon, af­ter the Soviet Union, United States and China.

SpaceIL has at­tempted to drum up pub­lic ex­cite­ment for the lu­nar mis­sion in Is­rael in re­cent months, vis­it­ing class­rooms around the coun­try and spon­sor­ing tele­vi­sion ad­ver­tise­ments that put Is­rael on par with global pow­ers.

The small craft, roughly the size of a wash­ing ma­chine, is equipped with in­stru­ments to mea­sure the moon’s mag­netic field, as well as a copy of the Bi­ble mi­cro­scop­i­cally etched on a small metal disc.

Is­rael’s space pro­gram chief Avi Blas­berger said he hopes SpaceIL will cre­ate a “Beresheet ef­fect” in Is­rael, akin to the Apollo ef­fect, to pro­mote sci­ence among a new gen­er­a­tion.

SpaceIL was founded in 2011 and orig­i­nally com­peted for Google’s Lu­nar Xprize, which chal­lenged pri­vate com­pa­nies to try to land a ro­botic space­craft on the moon. But the $20 mil­lion com­pe­ti­tion was scrapped by the tech gi­ant last year when it be­came clear none of the five com­pa­nies would meet a pre­set dead­line.

The SpaceIL pro­ject has bal­looned in cost over the years to around $100 mil­lion, fi­nanced largely by South African-Is­raeli bil­lion­aire Mor­ris Kahn and other donors from around the world.

Kahn said he be­lieves that “ev­ery Jew, not only ev­ery Is­raeli, will re­mem­ber where he was when Is­rael landed on the moon.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.