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World's first private moon mission launches

Posted on Sunday, 24 February, 2019 | Comment icon 9 comments

The probe was launched in to space atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Image Credit: YouTube / SpaceX
Israel is set to join China, Russia and the US as the fourth nation to achieve a controlled lunar landing.
At around the size of a washing machine and weighing in at 585kg, the robotic lander, which is called Beresheet (the Hebrew word for Genesis), launched atop a SpaceX rocket from Florida this week.

"We thought it's about time for a change, and we want to get little Israel all the way to the moon," said Yonatan Winetraub, co-founder of non-profit organization SpaceIL.

"We'll keep analyzing the data, but bottom line is we entered the very exclusive group of countries that have launched a spacecraft to the moon."

The project, which cost around $90 million, was privately funded by a number of backers including South African-born Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn and philanthropist Miriam Adelson.

The launch was met with messages of support from several famous faces including Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin who referred to the moon as his "old stomping ground."

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine also hailed the launch as "a historic step for all nations and commercial space as we look to extend our collaborations."

If all goes well, Beresheet should touch down on the lunar surface on April 11th.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (9)

Tags: Israel, Moon

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by ChrLzs on 22 February, 2019, 2:13
I see the BBC article thankfully didn't use the 'artists impression' that has popped up elsewhere, eg here: First up, I have seen worse image creations, but not many.. - a few comments: 1. The moon's curvature has been exaggerated. 2. The craters look unusually consistently shaped and sized 3. The surface of the moon appears to be sunlit, yet the lightrays near the earth suggest the Sun is behind earth (see below also).  The darkening of the surface towards the horizon makes no sense - there are no clouds/atmosphere on the Moon... 4. There is no sign of thruster operation (but perhaps it is be... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by ChrLzs on 22 February, 2019, 4:50
The SpaceX launch went well (in very windy conditions..) and the spacecraft is now in orbit, awaiting the signals to send it on the trajectory to the moon. SpaceX also successfully relanded their booster so it can be re-used. https://mashable.com/article/spacex-falcon9-moon-lander-launch/#bg2EaV2CzZq4  
Comment icon #3 Posted by Derek Willis on 22 February, 2019, 8:28
So stars can be seen from the Moon - more proof that the Apollo missions were faked! But seriously, I was surprised to read how after all the effort of building and launching the probe, once it is on the surface of the Moon it will only operate for two days. Apparently it will overheat due to not having any thermal control. Some of the Surveyor probes launched in the 1960's survived for a long time - for instance Surveyor 1 lasted over seven months. Their thermal control was white paint! Perhaps I have misread something.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Farmer77 on 22 February, 2019, 8:30
So ....um.... this project cost Israel 100 million USD....um.....didnt we just give them like 40 Billion USD in "aid"?    
Comment icon #5 Posted by and then on 23 February, 2019, 2:44
Small steps...
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 23 February, 2019, 4:47
This project didn't cost Israel a penny. It's privately funded.
Comment icon #7 Posted by and then on 23 February, 2019, 8:42
They are an exemplary source of innovation and forward looking scientific endeavors.  
Comment icon #8 Posted by Still Waters on 6 March, 2019, 11:23
Comment icon #9 Posted by bison on 6 March, 2019, 19:33
An unusual orientation of the Earth. North at left, instead of at the top. Besides Australia, right of center, Southeast Asia is visible at the left edge of the planet.  Of course there is no 'correct' orientation in space, merely the convention, which began with maps, of North at the top.  

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