Israel Hours Away from Historic Moon Landing – Here’s Where You Can Watch It
JERUSALEM, Israel – Israelis will be glued to their screens Thursday night to watch the Beresheet spacecraft land on the moon. If successful, Israel will become the fourth nation after the United States, Russia, and China to touch the moon.
Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft, which was developed by a team of scientists from SpaceIL and Israel Space Industries, is currently orbiting the moon. The spacecraft catapulted from the earth about seven weeks ago and is expected to land on the moon approximately 10:25 p.m. (3:25 p.m. ET).
On Wednesday, the SpaceIL and IAI team successfully completed the last maneuver before landing.
The maneuver lowered the spacecraft’s altitude in preparation for its landing. Beresheet is in elliptical orbit with its perilune (the closest point to the moon) only 15-17 km from the moon’s surface.
Beresheet will continue to orbit the moon in elliptical orbit every two hours until it lands.
Meanwhile, Israeli scientists spent all night Wednesday working on their last calculations before the big event. NASA is also participating in the mission and will help the scientists stay in contact with the spacecraft after it reaches the moon’s surface.
Once Beresheet lands, its mission will last two to three days. The craft will take pictures of the lunar surface and conduct experiments.
The spacecraft is also bringing God’s written word to the moon. It will carry a time capsule containing a database of hundreds of files. The files include a copy of the Bible, information about SpaceIL, Israeli national symbols, and other materials.
The capsule will be left on the moon’s surface after Israel completes its mission there.
Israeli leaders hope a successful landing will have an “Apollo Effect” on Israeli youth.
“We want the Israeli kids and the Israeli youth to, we want to encourage them to learn STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and informatics – and we hope that they will have this mission we will create the effect and encourage them,” said SpaceIL CEO Dr. Ido Antebi.
President Reuven Rivlin said Beresheet will make history.
“When I was a child, we used to write fortunes on bubblegum wrappers – ‘by the time you’re 21, you’ll go to the moon’. Then, it seemed fantastical, impossible. Until now, only great powers have landed on the moon – the United States, the Soviet Union and China. But if everything goes to plan, the State of Israel – our young and small country – will be the fourth country in history to land a spacecraft on the moon.”
If you would like to watch the live broadcast of the landing from the SpaceIL control room, click here.
Note: The time of the landing may change and viewers are encouraged to look for updates on social media.
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