Friday, 19 April, 2019

Israeli spacecraft landing on moon today

Could this plan work? More Could this plan work? More
Cary Marshall | 11 April, 2019, 22:57

It was built by Israeli nonprofit space venture SpaceIL and state-owned defence contractor Israel Aerospace Industries with $100 million furnished nearly entirely by private donors.

Israel's Beresheet spacecraft has failed in its audacious attempt to make a Moon landing.

Genesis got its start in 2010 when three young Israeli engineers - Yonatan Winetraub, Yariv Bash and Kfir Damari - registered for the Google Lunar X Prize competition. Besides trying to win the X-Prize, the SpaceIL effort was also meant to inspire Israelis and others to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), to create an "Apollo effect" in the country.

Beresheet was created to make some measurements of the local gravity field around its landing site during its two or three Earth days of work on the moon. The SpaceIL team was helped by multiple donations from the Israeli Space Agency as well as a donation from billionaire Sheldon Adelson in 2014.

Israel's first moon lander came up just short in its historic touchdown bid this afternoon (April 11).

Shaped like a round table with four carbon-fibre legs, Beresheet stands about 1.5-metres tall.

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The spacecraft will take photos of the landing site to prove a successful landing, adding to its collection of stunning images and videos from its journey. Some of those children will eventually become scientists - and perhaps help design, build or operate spacecraft themselves someday. The competition offered $20 million for the first non-governmental entity to land a spacecraft on the moon.

China's Chang'e-4 made the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon on January 3, after a probe sent by Beijing made a lunar landing elsewhere in 2013. By the time it's fifteen feet above the ground, it should be slowed to a complete stop.

Beresheet was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on February 22 with a Falcon 9 rocket from Elon Musk's private US-based SpaceX company.

Before the mission's failure, Beresheet snapped a selfie as it approached the lunar surface.

Live coverage of the landing was scheduled to begin at 2:45 p.m. ET Thursday and it was expected to be available on the SpaceIL YouTube channel for anyone to watch. It is part of a joint scientific experiment together with the Weizmann Institute of Science to take measurements of the moon's mysterious magnetic field. But should everything go according to plan, the spacecraft will begin to reduce its altitude and when it reaches an altitude of 5 km, it will begin measuring the moon's precise surface in preparation for its landing.

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