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You are in this picture. It's a Selfie taken by SpaceIL's Beresheet Lunar Lander on the way to the moon

Israel's space program doesn't get many headlines. Israel itself is in the news a lot, but usually for other reasons. But they have a space program, and right now they have a lander, called Beresheet, heading towards the moon. Israel's space program is run by Israel's Space Agency (ISA) and their lunar lander is called "Beresheet," which means beginning or Genesis in Hebrew. (If you speak Hebrew, and I'm wrong, please give a correction.) But Beresheet itself is actually the creation of a non-profit society called SpaceIL. Three young engineers founded SpaceIL 2011 to compete in Google's Lunar XPRIZE, which challenged groups to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon. SpaceIL's Beresheet lands were one of the finalists in that competition, but the competition ended on March 31 , 2018, without a winner. It's a pretty amazing story, and now Beresheet is almost at the moon. A graphic showing Beresheets mission timeline. Image Credit: SpaceIL, ISA. Beresheet was launched on February 22, 2019 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It travels in a series of ever-increasing elliptical ground paths, which effectively sway against the moon, using their rocket engines. Eventually it will reach the Moon's orbit. Beresheet will then be captured by the Moon's gravity, again using its engines, and entering an elliptical path around the moon. It will perform several of these elliptical lunar orbits before entering a circular orbit about 250 km above the surface. Then it begins the landing process. [embedded content] On April 11, Beresheet will…

Israel’s space program doesn’t get many headlines. Israel itself is in the news a lot, but usually for other reasons. But they have a space program, and right now they have a lander, called Beresheet, heading towards the moon.

Israel’s space program is run by Israel’s Space Agency (ISA) and their lunar lander is called “Beresheet,” which means beginning or Genesis in Hebrew. (If you speak Hebrew, and I’m wrong, please give a correction.) But Beresheet itself is actually the creation of a non-profit society called SpaceIL.

Three young engineers founded SpaceIL 2011 to compete in Google’s Lunar XPRIZE, which challenged groups to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon. SpaceIL’s Beresheet lands were one of the finalists in that competition, but the competition ended on March 31

, 2018, without a winner. It’s a pretty amazing story, and now Beresheet is almost at the moon.  A graphic depicting Beresheets mission timeline. Image Credit: SpaceIL, ISA. A graphic showing Beresheets mission timeline. Image Credit: SpaceIL, ISA.

Beresheet was launched on February 22, 2019 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It travels in a series of ever-increasing elliptical ground paths, which effectively sway against the moon, using their rocket engines. Eventually it will reach the Moon’s orbit.

Beresheet will then be captured by the Moon’s gravity, again using its engines, and entering an elliptical path around the moon. It will perform several of these elliptical lunar orbits before entering a circular orbit about 250 km above the surface. Then it begins the landing process.

On April 11, Beresheet will land near Mare Serenitatis, also known as “Sea of ​​Tranquility”. It’s the mission will vary just two days, but for a non-profit spaceship, it’s amazing.

Beresheet becomes the smallest and cheapest spacecraft to ever land on the moon. The dry mass is only 150 kg (China’s Yutu2 rover is slightly smaller, but it landed aboard Chang 4’s landers.)

 A full-scale model of Beresheet Moon Lander. Image Credit: By TaBaZzz - Own Work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76804285A full-scale model of Beresheet Moon Lander. Image Credit: By TaBaZzz – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76804285

Beresheet mission has a scientific purpose. It will use a magnetometer to investigate magnetic anomalies at the landing site.

The earth has a magnetic field generated by its rotating liquid metal core, but the moon has no rotating core. The moon still has a magnetic field, which was 3.6 billion years ago as strong as the Earth. Researchers know this from studying Moon Rocks. When molten stone solidifies, it is locked in some traces of the magnetic field present at the time. By examining stones from different places on the moon, researchers can control the moon’s magnetic history. Beresheet will not try any rocks, but the magnetometer will try to help explain what is happening to the Moon’s magnetism.

There are some puzzling anomalies on the lunar surface called Lunar Swirls. These swirls have a high albedo, and they appear to be young characteristics. They overlay craters and their ejecta, for example. More puzzling, they only appear in areas with high magnetic field strength. Perhaps even more puzzling than that, they do not occur in all areas where a strong magnetic field has been found.

 From left to right: Reiner Gamma moon swirls, a lunar swirl east of Firsovkrater and swirls around Mare Ingenii. Picture credits: left: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, wide-angle camera science team; center: NASA, Apollo 10; right: NASA, Lunar Orbiter 2. From left to right: Reiner Gamma Moon Swirl, a moon jacket east of Firsov Crater, and swirls at Mare Ingenii. Picture credits: left: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, wide-angle camera science team; center: NASA, Apollo 10; right: NASA, Lunar Orbiter 2.

Beresheet magnetic examinations will only be lasted for two days, and at that time the farmer will overheat as it lacks heat protection. But it will not end the mission, thanks to NASA’s commitment.

NASA provided the spacecraft with a laser retroreflector that will operate without any force for a long, long time. It will remain one of five retroreflectors on the lunar surface of various missions, allowing very precise measurements of the distance between the earth and the moon.

Like most space missions, Beresheet will also have a high resolution camera, so we can expect a nice lunar eye lock along with science.

In addition to his magnetic examination and its images, Beresheet has another goal. The three people who started the whole quest, Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari, and Yonatan Winetraub, have background in electronics, computing and technology. They wanted the Beresheet mission and the SpaceIL non-profit community to promote STEM education in Israel.

As the first Israeli spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit, the first private spacecraft would land on the moon and as only the fourth nation landed a spacecraft on the moon, there is no doubt that it will succeed in that goal.

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