An Israeli Aircraft Seeks to Capture the Moon
Hi-Tech Science

An Israeli Aircraft Seeks to Capture the Moon

With less of a fuss than I may have anticipated, a remarkable competition ended last year. The exciting thing about it? There was no winner. The game ended just because there was no longer a possibility that there may be a winner. Perhaps you know that I am referring to the Google Lunar X Prize contest. It had been intended as a catalyst for Space exploration, rather than efforts by national agencies such as Isro or even Nasa. Notably, the challenge was to land a rover on the moon, have it traveling 500m and ship home pictures and video.
The first privately funded team that would do that by 31 a deadline which had been extended twice would win the trophy, $30 million. In 2017, five finalists were announced: among them, Team Indus from Bengaluru. However, In January 2018, the contest was closed down because none of those five will be in a position to meet the 31 March launch deadline. Competition or not, some of the teams chose to maintain their efforts going. Two of these are Team Indus and SpaceIL and on 21 Feb, SpaceIL’s moon lander shot in space atop a Space X Falcon 9 rocket.
SpaceIL’s craft, Beresheet, will soon land on the moon. Though what is intriguing is what soon means here. In 1969, Apollo 11 in the US took around 4 times, start to landing, to get to the moon. Back in 1970, Luna 17 of the USSR landed there about a week after shooting off. In 2013, China’s Chang’emails took five times to reach and then install in orbit around the moon, and landed a week after. Beresheet, in contrast, will only try to land on the moon at 11 am Apr.
while the moon is barely over 350, 000km away when it’s closest to us, by the time Beresheet lands there, it’s going to have traveled about 6.5 million kilometers. One reason behind the long traveling time is that Beresheet shared its ride into space with an Indonesian satellite along with a craft. This can be space exploration Uber Pool design, then, which is How SpaceIL’s co-founder Yonatan Winetraub explained it before the launch. The big advantage: it costs considerably less than dedicated rocket would, and particularly for a private effort, cost matters a fantastic deal. The drawback is that while a missile may have put Beresheet directly on track for the moon, this Falcon 9 launch only places Beresheet into orbit around the earth like it did the two ride sharers. What happens then, so that Beresheet may take its shot in the moon, is up to the engineers of SpaceIL.