The historic mission to the moon is approaching the finale: the Bereshit probe, created with the money of private investors, enters the atmosphere of the Earth satellite and is preparing to descend to the surface.
If everything goes well, Bereshit probe, named after the first words from Genesis, will be Israel’s first spacecraft to descend on the Moon. And the country is the fourth in this race after the USA, Russia and China, according to New Atlas.
SpaceL – the company responsible for the mission – confirmed that the probe had made a difficult maneuver for the transition to the lunar orbit.
The ship must be moored on April 11 in the Sea of Clarity, not far from the landing site of the Apollo 17 in 1972.
The probe was launched from the spaceport at Cape Canaveral in February of this year aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Initially it was built for the Google Lunar XPrize competition, the winner of which was then not determined (the prize found winners later). Today it is the lightest spacecraft of those that flew to the moon – its mass is only 585 kg.
As soon as Bereshit probe reaches the lunar surface, it will begin to take photographs, shoot video and collect data with a magnetometer to study the magnetic field of the moon.
Also, its task is to test the array of laser corner reflectors – a potential navigation tool. In addition, there is a digital “time capsule” on board with an image of the flag of Israel, information about the history of the people and a copy of the Israeli Declaration of Independence.
Since the device is not equipped with thermoregulation, it will be active for only two days, after which it will turn off.
The new phase of active space exploration requires the United States to return to the moon no later than 2024. Competitors’ progress should, according to Vice President Mike Pence, force Americans to redouble their efforts to become the first country to send astronauts to the moon in the 21st century.