Friday, March 8, 2019

Israeli Spacecraft Snaps Selfie from 23,000 Miles Away

Photo taken by the Beresheet spacecraft in which an Israeli flag can be seen on a plaque with the inscription, "Am Israel Hai," or "The Jewish People Lives," and in English, "Small country, big dreams," taken 37,600 kilometers from Earth. (Courtesy SpaceIL/IAI)

The Beresheet spacecraft on Tuesday sent back a photo taken with its “selfie camera,” in which the Israeli flag can be seen 37,600 kilometers (23,000 miles) above Earth. A plaque installed on the outside of the lunar lander depicts Israel’s national flag as well as the phrases “Am Yisrael Chai” (the people of Israel live) and “Small country, big dreams.”

The picture was taken during a slow spin of the spacecraft, with Australia visible in the background.

The photo comes after the moon-bound craft successfully carried out a key maneuver Thursday night, following a worrisome computer glitch earlier last week.

Ground control activated the spacecraft’s main engine for four minutes, putting it into a new orbit that takes it to a distance of 131,000 kilometers from earth. The next maneuver is scheduled for this week.

Beresheet, which means “Genesis” in Hebrew, lifted from Cape Canaveral atop a Falcon 9 rocket from the private US-based SpaceX company of entrepreneur Elon Musk.

If successful, Beresheet will make history twice: as the first private-sector landing on the Moon, and the first from Israel.

The craft has also broken an Israeli speed record, traveling at 10.5 kilometers per second, said Opher Doron, general manager of the space division at Israel Aerospace Industries.

The four-legged Beresheet, barely the size of a washing machine, will circle Earth in ever bigger loops until it’s captured by lunar gravity and goes into orbit around the moon instead. Touchdown is planned for April 11 at the Sea of Serenity.

No comments:

Post a Comment