Israeli company sends world's first Privately Funded Mission to Moon
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying Israeli company SpaceIL’s lunar lander blasted off from Florida. If successful Israel will join the club of countries which includes Russia, the US and China who haa ve made successful controlled landing on the surface of earth’s nearest neighbour.
Israel’s Mission to Moon
- Funded almost entirely by donations, the project is the first privately backed lunar lander mission. The project costed $100 million
- Named Beresheet the spacecraft weights 585kg.
- Beresheet will make a seven-week journey to the moon, from where it will send back images of the rocky surface and conduct experiments on the lunar magnetic field.
- The spacecraft is named Beresheet as a reference to the first words of the Bible in Hebrew: “In the beginning”.
Landings on Moon
- The first landing on the moon was made by Soviet Union with Luna 2 in 1959.
- Three years later, the United States landed Ranger 4 on the moon.
- Both Luna 2 and Ranger 4 were hard landings where the craft crashed into the moon.
- The first “soft landings” wherein the spacecraft made controlled descents to the lunar surface for both US and Russia came in 1966.
- The third country to do a soft landing on the moon was China in the year 2013 with its Chang’e 3.
SpaceIL is a non-profit company founded eight years ago to compete in the Google Lunar X Prize, an international competition to see whether a private enterprise could land a spacecraft on the moon and move 500 meters in any direction, and transmit live, high-definition video from the lunar surface.
But the competition got cancelled in the year 2018 when none of the five teams left in the competition was able to meet the March deadline for a launch.
Category: Science & Technology Current Affairs