A team of Israeli scientists will release the first privately funded mission to land on the Moon this week by sending a spacecraft to collect data from the lunar surface.
Beresheet, the Hebrew word for Genesis, is called, the 585kg (1,290 lb) robotic will explode from Florida at 01:45 GMT on Friday powered by one of Elon Musk's Spaceon Falcon 9 rockets. Once it touches down, in a few weeks it will measure the magnetic field of the Moon to understand how it is formed.
Beresheet will also deposit a "time capsule" of the digital size files containing the Bible, children's drawings. National anthem of Israel, blue-and-white flag, and memories of a survivor of the Holocaust.
"It will be on the moon forever," said Jonathan Weintraub, co-founder of SpaceIL, a non-profit association
Although this is not an initiative of the government, the state-owned corporation Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) If the mission is successful, Israel will become the fourth country after Russia, the United States and China to reach the Moon.
"This is the cheapest spacecraft ever to undertake such a mission," the IAI said. £ 77 million project. "The super-states that managed to land a spacecraft on the moon have spent hundreds of millions." He added that although it was a private venture, Beresheet was "a national and historical achievement."
SpaceIL was created in 2011 to win Google Lunar XPrize, which has rewarded $ 30 million in a privately funded team to land an automated spacecraft. On the Moon, skip 500 meters and transfer the images to Earth.
Although the contest ended without a winner, SpaceIL decided to continue and raise funds elsewhere. Maurice Cannes, an Israeli billionaire born in South Africa, is the main supporter, but SpaceIL said the US Republican party and pro-Israeli sponsor Miriam Adelson and her husband Sheldon have given $ 24 million to make a soft landing, instead of collapsing on the moon's surface in 1966. But after the end of the space race in the 1970s, there was no return until China sent a landing in 2013. make history by landing a spacecraft across the moon
With Mars being a distant and challenging prospect, there is a revival of interest in lunar visits. Later, in 2019, two more moon missions, one Indian rover, and another Chinese apparatus are planned.
The Trump administration has made human Moon a major priority, while NASA is increasingly looking for private companies to help reduce cost. A US plan to build a small crew station around the moon is taking place and NASA has asked the commercial sector to offer the technology.