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First Private London Loner Foretells New Moon Space Race



Israel is heading to the moon – and moon stage. If everything goes well, a landing scheduled to begin on February 21 will become the first privately funded vessel to land on the Moon. It seems that the feat will begin a new era of exploration of the moon – one in which national space agencies work together with the private industries to investigate and exploit the moon and its resources.

The craft called Beresheet – "at the beginning" of Hebrew – was built by an Israeli nonprofit company called SpaceIL, which has earned $ 100 million for its mission, much of it through charitable donations. Beresheet will be delivered to SpaceX Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and must reach Mare Serenitatis, a basaltic plane in the northern hemisphere of the Moon, in April (see Moon shot). There will be a study of the presence of rocks in the lunar rocks, a phenomenon that is puzzling, given the lack of a global magnetic field of the satellite (see "What will make Beresheet on the Moon?")


The mission is not entirely private because it includes government partners. And although the vessel is a bit more than a demonstrator – his scientific mission is simple and the plane is expected to last only two days on the surface – the mission is symbolically important. This will be the first mission of the Moon to Israel, as well as the first private craft to "soft ground" on the moon's surface – an elite club of US, Chinese and Russian space agencies has been preserved. The success of SpaceIL will be an important milestone, says Robert Böme, CEO and founder of PTScientists in Berlin, a private company that also shoots for the moon. "That would be a great proof, as China is the only one with a soft landing right now," he said.

Israeli success can foretell a new culture of the earth and scroll the business model for exploration of the Moon to a private company mainly selling a supply service. Customers could buy a landing place to transport their cargo – from scientific tools built by space agencies and universities to technology companies and companies that promise to put the ashes on the moon's relatives. In the long run, companies may want to go to the Moon to go for water that can become a fuel to power missiles or to maintain a lunar arrangement.

Moon scientists will also benefit from the merchant navy land. In addition to the Chinese ship Chang-e-4, which dropped last month and is the only active moon robot – the last surface mission is in the late 1970s, says Barbara Cohen, a planetary scientist at NASA's Space Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. , "This generation of lunar scientists has failed to do anything robotic," she says. "We are really excited."

XPRIZE's Legacy

SpaceIL will be the first former competitor to Google Lunar XPRIZE to begin its mission on the moon. But at least five companies competed for the prize plan to launch missions by the end of 2021. All struggle to be the first fully commercial mission to do so (see "Merchant Players").

Google Lunar XPRIZE deserves credit for the popularity of the moon today, says Bob Richards, CEO of Moon Express at Cape Canaveral, another former rival. The ambitious project launched in 2007 to stimulate affordable and commercial access to the Moon. He proposed $ 20 million to the first team to land a vessel on the surface and perform basic tasks. The competition was canceled in January 2018 when none of the participants seemed ready to meet the March deadline for launch. At that time, the XPRIZE Foundation in Calvert, California, put an end to the team's difficulties in raising funds, as well as technical and regulatory challenges.

Leading space in this new space race is largely funded, says Richards. 19659002] Three young engineers founded the company in Tel Aviv in 2011, but it has withdrawn cash injections of a total of $ 43 million from Morris Cann, a South African telecom billionaire who is now president of the company. The mission has become a national project, with the Israeli space agency, which has accumulated $ 2 million, and Israel Aerospace Industries in Lod, the largest aerospace and satellite company in the country that built the craft. The project has also lowered costs by targeting Falcon 9 along with other cargoes: Indonesian satellite and, according to the report, a small US Air Force satellite. "Data-src =" http://media.nature.com/w800/magazine-assets/d41586-019-00634-8/d41586-019-00634-8_16491854.jpg "/>

Beresheet Craft Before Launch Levy / SpaceIL

Government Support

The growing interest of governments wanting to return to the moon also

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) want to fund private companies to deliver scientific instruments to the moon's surface, hoping for a new business model of the moon. is the agencies will eventually be among the many customers who enjoy the service

NASA has turned its sights back to the moon following the US presidential directive in 2017. The agency's aim is to provide a learning ground for missions on Mars and to study the lunar resources that could withstand human presence on the moon, for example by producing oxygen and hydrogen for fuel, as well as purely scientific research.

To help achieve these goals, the agency is launching the CLPS for $ 2.6 billion in 2018. In November, NASA chose nine consortia that thought it complied with the flight requirements to the moon. Each of them is run by a US company and includes multiple partners to cover start-up, landing and operations. Scientists must submit to NASA by February 27 proposals for tools or technologies that could contribute to winning a commercial media.

The program is designed to "launch" a new private Moon industry, says Richards, and reflects NASA's efforts more than a decade ago to encourage the development of space flight commercial companies such as SpaceX.

What will be the Beresheet on the Moon?

Beresheet is a light craft – 180 kilograms without fuel – which will launch the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It will release the rocket 30 minutes after take-off and enter the orbit of the Earth. Then, in the next two months, the camera will use engine burns to travel in increasingly elliptical outlines until it is close enough to the moon to be captured by moon gravity.

The main goal of Beresheet's two-day scientific mission is to study the magnetic fields of the lunar rocks that pass through the last minutes before landing and to measure magnetism from the surface, says Oded Aharonson, a planetary scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, who manages international cooperation for the scientific mission.

Scientists will compare the magnetic fields of the rocks with their ages. according to their geology, in an attempt to find out whether the Moon had ever had a liquid metal core that could sprout with stones.

Beresheet will also send back images and video but it is not

Böhme's railway to the moon

says NASA is likely to become a pre-plan to "jump" to a new location that would be needed to do to win the current outdated Google Lunar XPRIZE. take dozens of payloads as part of the CLPS program, giving several companies a shot on the Moon, probably from 2020 onwards. "We are setting up the rail line, delivering DHL to the Moon," said John Thornton, Astrobotic CEO, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, another company hoping to land the first commercial moon ship.

For scientists, the model has pros and cons, says Cohen. Initially, the gatherers would not be upgraded and would not have spoons or drills to collect samples nor could they survive on the cold moon night. Scientists would not necessarily have access to vessel data that could be useful for calibration. "The big, big plus" is that the large number of moon landing opportunities will allow a wider range of researchers to engage and run more risky projects, she says.

Many of XPRIZE's former companies from around the world are part of teams that are eligible to tender for CLPS contracts, although some of them also plan independent launches outside the program (see Merchant Participants) . These include the Tokyo-based start-up company and TeamIndus in Bangalore, India, which canceled the planned start in 2018. TeamIndus aims to launch missions on the moon "several times" over the next three to five years, says Shellika Ravišancar, who heads. company work. (The Indian Space Research Organization also hopes to make its first controlled landing on the Moon this year with its Chandrayaan-2 mission.)

Trading players

Several private companies competing for Google Lunar XPRIZE are still take pictures of the moon. These companies are developing lunar devices, where they can sell space for payloads. Most of them have landed contracts until 2021 and many have been selected as candidates for the NASA-funded technology and technology on the Moon as part of the USSR's program.

Planned Missions

Staff

Staff

Astrobotic (US)

Caliber of Sapson weighs 290 kg without fuel. The payload is 35 kg; 265 kg for later missions.

Selected by NASA as eligible to deliver a payload to the moon. Missions could begin in 2019. Also provide a launch date with the United Launch Alliance at Centennial, Colorado for 2021

Unspecified

23

ispace (Japan)

HAKUTO- R weighs 350 kg without fuel; 30 kilograms payload, including a 4-kilogram router

Plans to launch orbit in 2020 and landing in 2021 SpaceX missiles. He participates in the team of Draper, selected by NASA as eligible to deliver a monthly payload from 2019

$ 94.5 million

~ 70

Fossil Space Systems (USA)

XL- weighs 675 kg without fuel; 100-pound payload

Selected by NASA as eligible for monthly payload delivery. Missions from 2021

Undiscovered

~ 20

Moon Express (US)

MX-1E weighing 250 kg with fuel; 30 kg payload. Modular scavengers will fit up to 500kg in future missions.

Selected by NASA as eligible to provide payload on the Moon. Missions could begin in 2019

> $ 40 million

~ 50

PTScientists (Germany)

ALINA lander weighs 1,000 kg without fuel. The payload is 200 kg, including two rovers.

SpaceX launch plans for payloads in 2020 Second mission planned for 2021 Participates in a team selected by NASA as meeting the requirements for delivering a monthly payload from 2019 Space Agency for Exploration the construction of an airplane for a mine mine mission around 2025

Preparing to raise venture capital

~ 70

SpaceIL (Israel)

Beresheet lander weighs 180 kg without fuel. Unrevealed mass of payload.

Starting Landing on February 21st. There are no public plans for further missions.

$ 100 million

~ 40

TeamIndus (India)

Z-01 weighs 210 kg without fuel; 30 kilos of payload

Participates in the ORBITBeyond team selected by NASA as eligible for deliverables from 2019. Independent start-up contracts study for 2022-24

> $ 30 million

~ 70

European Vision

ESA began to look back on the moon before NASA, and also hopes to boost the state of newly created space companies.

The agency is planning a mission to be launched in 2025 in order to demonstrate the possibility of harvesting. water or oxygen from the soil of the lunar poles.

Last month, ESA contracted PTScientists (created in direct response to XPRIZE), ArianeGroup missiles from Paris and Space Applications Services in Brussels to study the viability of such a mission.

Böhme says the agency hopes to provide about EUR 250 million ($ 283 million), which will be needed by Member States in November – something he is sure will happen for the international market. Unlike the CLPS program, for which trading partners will cover the cost of marketing, ESA will pay for launching and mission operations as well as space in the cabin, says Böme. , Operations will cost about 130 million euros and the remaining 120 million will pay for the development of scientific beneficial loads. But these beneficial loads would only occupy half of the collector's capacity, so PST scientists could sell the rest of the space to other customers for profit. "It's a good business case," says Böme.

Checking Reality

Today Richards thinks that a mission on the surface of the Moon could cost about $ 50 million, half of what it cost a decade ago. The economies of scale for the next missions could bring the cost of individual loads to hundreds of thousands of dollars, he says.

However, despite the success of investment and customer support companies, some experts remain skeptical that in the long run there

For example, it is unclear whether there are customers – except governments – who would like rocket fuel, received from the moon. The only advantageous use could be to move further into the solar system – for example, to become ateroid, says Jonathan McDowell, a cosmic historian and astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It can be decades.

"What will they get – something other than advertising? This is the missing part of what I can not fully understand, "says McDowell.


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