The Israeli spacecraft Genesis faces the first of the great challenges of its moon mission: "capture the moon" or exit Earth's orbit to enter the moon.
If the maneuver succeeds, the spacecraft once grabbed by the gravitational attraction of the Moon will begin to roam in the Earth's natural satellite and will gradually come closer to it in order to make a planned landing on the moon within a week.
>> Read more: Israeli Spacecraft Takes Ultimate Sef on Its Way to Making History of the Moon
If the upcoming events are planned, Genesis will make the history of space and become the first spacecraft built in a private environment to complete the challenging mission. The very low cost of the project, compared to other moon missions, to $ 1
00 million, is also an important milestone in the new era of human interplanetary travel that can be expected to grow and become commercialized as a result of the success of this mission.
Eran Schmidt, deputy director of the project and chief of space systems for SpaceIL, said that the spacecraft has so far walked the ground in an expanding elliptical path by means of maneuvers aimed at increasing speed and further movement . farther from the ground.
<img data-src = "https://images.haarets.co.il/image/upload/w_625,h_361,q_auto,c_fill,f_auto/fl_any_format.preserve_transparency.progressive:none/v1551181747/1.6975552.817948253. jpg "src =" https://images.haarets.co.il/image/upload/w_625,h_361,q_auto,c_fill,f_auto/fl_any_format.preserve_transparency.progressive:none/v1502953267/1.1087122.3694361761.png "width =" "alt =" Beresheet on the way to the moon
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Around 17:15 hours during Israel, the spacecraft is planned to be 400,000 kilometers from the planet and near the moon. will be triggered to slow it from 8,500 kilometers per hour to 7,500. The maneuver will be done autonomously through a series of instructions to the spacecraft's computer. Delaying will allow it to grasp the gravitational attraction of the moon and then move elliptically along the satellite, a drawing nearly 500 kilometers from the surface of the moon.
If the maneuver fails, there will be another chance within an hour or later, Schmidt says, adding that if the second attempt fails, the spacecraft will also slip away from the gravitational pull of Earth and the Moon and will come into another orbit around the sun. That would mean the failure of the mission. If successful, then the next spacecraft will move 200 kilometers from the Moon, turn it in orbit for 14 hours, and each orbit will take over. Then an additional planned maneuver will bring the spacecraft at 15 kilometers above the Moon, where it will receive a series of instructions leading to an autonomous landing with its engines. Once the vehicle has appeared four to five meters from the surface of the Moon, the engines will close in order for the plane to fall to the ground. Experts hope that the special spaceship chariots will allow him to survive this autumn.
The engineer describes the three major mission maneuvers as launch, moon capture, and autonomous landing. Unfortunately the success of a challenge does not mean that others will succeed. Schmidt says there are two other options for landing. The plan is for the landing to take place at sunrise, as the daily temperatures of the Moon are very high. The spacecraft will be able to function 72 hours before it gets too hot.
The genesis built by SpaceIL using Google's XPRIZE and LunarX began as a competitor in 2007, giving different entrepreneurs the challenge of building a spacecraft that can land on the moon to travel around 500 meters and send a video from what it can capture. The competition ended without winners, but all competitors continue their efforts to build a spacecraft that can reach the Moon. Over the next two years, developers from other projects are hoping to join Genesis and land on the Moon.
Last year, the US space agency said nine US companies or companies partnering with Americans could compete for LunarX auctions for cargo transportation from NASA to the Moon. Last month, NASA unveiled a dozen auctions that it wants to bring to the Moon with a budget of $ 2.6 billion for 10 years.
Part of interest in exploration of the moon is related to the development of satellite mineral exploration technology. It is too early to say whether the dream of using the moon resources can develop in the foreseeable future, but many people consider the satellite a new "wild west" and are looking for ways to adopt some of them. The isotopes of gold, silver, titanium and helium3 needed for nuclear fusion can be found on the moon and nearby asteroids. But the main economic value of the Moon seems not only to be limited to its rare minerals, but also in material that is abundant and on earth: water.
Fuel price is one of the most expensive aspects of space travel. It takes huge quantities to get rid of Earth's orbit. About 85% of the weight of Saturn5 used to launch the US astronauts on the moon consists of fuel. The same goes for rocket fuel to date. By comparison, the fuel represents only 4% of the average vehicle weight. Therefore, if you want to plan long trips in space, the spacecraft needs to carry enough fuel for the entire mission or find that it will reload on the way. The moon could provide room for such a fueling center. Frozen water at its poles can be destroyed and used as a rocket fuel. So the one who manages to claim the water of the moon's poles will gain a significant advantage in the race to conquer the solar system.
In addition to history and entrepreneurial achievements, success in capturing the moon will also cause Genesis's scientific missions: To decode the magnetic mysteries of the moon rocks. The study, conducted in collaboration with the Weizmann Institute, will use a magnetometer placed on the spacecraft to try to understand how the lunar rays have received their magnetism. Professor Oded Aharonson of Weizmann's Earth Sciences Department, who led the project, said the Moon had no magnetic fields. But studies have found that some lunar rocks have magnetic qualities and the study aims to try to understand how they have acquired this ability: whether it happened as a result of an internal process that happened at an earlier stage of the moon's life, or an external factor such as landing on asteroids.
Earth's magnetic field was created as a result of the circular motion of its metallic and liquid core. But as far as scientists know, the moon is much smaller and colder than the earth and its core is frozen. Therefore, it is not considered that the moon has its own magnetic field. The study aims to learn about the moon's history by magnetizing its rocks to find out if the moon had a magnetic field in the past. As the spacecraft travels around the moon in smaller and smaller circles before landing, the magnetometer will measure the magnetism of the rocks in different regions to learn if there is a system of age and the nature of the magnetic rocks that can tell us something about their physical characteristics.