Israeli spacecraft Beresheet (Genesis), on the way to the moon, sent its first “selfie” photo with Earth in the background. The photograph, in which Australia can be seen, as well as the Israeli flag and the message “Little country, big dreams”, was sent to the Israeli control room at a distance of about 37,600 kilometers.
The Beresheet, weighing in at 585kg and cost $ 100m, was developed with the support of a private business venture by the non-profit organization SpaceIL and the state-run Israeli aerospace company Israel Aerospace Industries, was launched by a Falcon 9 rocket built by the American private company Space X, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on February 22.
The journey, which follows a complicated rather than the usual short course, is expected to last seven weeks. If everything goes well, the ship is scheduled to land on April 11, making Israel the fourth country to have done so after the US, the USSR (Russia) and China. So far, the spacecraft has experienced two minor technical malfunctions, but they have been rectified by engineers.
It will be followed by India, which hopes to become the fifth country to land on the moon with the Chandrayaan-2 mission this year, and in 2020 it will probably be Japan’s turn. The United States, which has not been on the Moon since the last Apollo mission in 1972, plans to build a small space station (Gateway) orbiting the Moon by 2026 and a manned mission over the next decade.