Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Israel's lunar spacecraft takes selfie in outer space

Israel's Moon-Bound Spacecraft Sends Back First Selfie From 20K Miles Over Earth Israel's lunar spacecraft takes selfie in outer space
Cary Marshall | 08 March, 2019, 06:28

An Israeli spacecraft on its first mission to the moon has sent its first selfie back to Earth, mission chiefs said.

The selfie shows a part of the Beresheet spacecraft with the Earth in the background from a distance of 37,600 km (23,363.5 miles). 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". In addition to the Israeli flag, the plaque bears the Hebrew caption "Am Yisrael Chai" - the people of Israel live - a rallying cry used to symbolize Jewish perseverance in the face of persecution.

Beresheet missed one of its early maneuvers due to a computer glitch, but it's back on an orbital itinerary that should lead to a landing in a relatively flat area of the moon known as Mare Serenitatis.

The Israeli mission comes amid renewed global interest in the moon, 50 years after American astronauts first walked on its surface.

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For Israel, the landing itself is the main mission, but the spacecraft also carries a scientific instrument to measure the lunar magnetic field, which will help understanding of the moon's formation.

Beresheet is Israel's first major space exploration programme and a successful touchdown on the Earth's satellite would be a first for a privately-funded initiative, because all past Moon landings were paid for by nation states.

Beresheet was launched from Cape Canaveral on February 22 at 3:45 am.

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