Beyond the Cusp

April 9, 2019

The Winner in Israel Is…

Filed under: Israel — qwertster @ 2:06 AM
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

The election will be over but probably not the screaming. The tally will be known and all that is left is for the coalition to be announced. It may already have been cobbled together, but all of that will not matter on April 11, 2019, which will forever be known as the day Beresheet and Israel landed on the Moon. There will be those who will still be arguing about the election, but some are always stuck on politics. I know that we are a fine one to talk about obsessing over politics. Today, with elections already driving many to the brink, we decided to be calm and talk about the little spacecraft that is about to be the first privately funded, government free (sort of) that ever landed on the Moon. Beresheet will make Israel the forth or fifth nation to soft-land a craft on the Moon behind the United States, USSR (Russia), China and here comes the iffy part as sources we checked were uncertain whether or not India had also managed this feat. Israel has also become the seventh country to enter the Moon’s orbit after a successful maneuver the last couple of days. Beresheet has six cameras nestled under the top plate on the spacecraft. Just like any teenager with a cellphone, Beresheet is able to take selfies like the one below. That small orb just hanging there in space, that’s us, the Earth, everything we know is on that small orb. And of course we are going to try and fill the article with pictures taken by our ‘little spacecraft that could’ from the small country with big dreams.

 

Beresheet Takes a Selfie with Earth Doing a Photobomb

Beresheet Takes a Selfie with Earth Doing a Photobomb

 

The Beresheet lander weighs in at a mere 180 kg (600 kg fully fueled), she is a four-legged spacecraft and is the smallest, a mere one and a half meters by two meters wide and one and a half meters tall (approx. washing machine sized), and least expensive spacecraft to land on the Moon thusfar. It is so appropriate that Israel, one of the smaller nations (about the same size as New Jersey), would build a spacecraft commensurate with her own size, but Beresheet will hopefully perform some remarkable achievements other than simply landing on the Moon. If nothing else, Beresheet has already sent back some amazing pictures including some from the back-side of the Moon (see below). The launch back in February was successful and the little spacecraft that could has been circling the Earth in an ever-greater elliptical orbit until she reached distances allowing for her to go for Lunar capture. That was the recent maneuver which was successful as Beresheet is now circling the Moon in preparation for landing.

 

Beresheet Back-Side of the Moon

Beresheet Back-Side of the Moon

 

Beresheet Back-Side of the Moon

Beresheet Back-Side of the Moon

 

Beresheet’s arrival on the Moon could not be timed any more perfectly coinciding with the end of election here in Israel on Earth. For the past few weeks, one could have debated which was flying higher, the rhetoric and accusations between the candidates and their respective parties, the hyperventilating by the media over the Mueller findings (one nothing burger) or Beresheet on her way to rendezvous with the Moon. That was settled when she made the transition into Moon orbit putting all these other lesser things into perspective. This little craft has been through a large area of space since the following picture was released before her launch date.

 

Beresheet Readied for Launch

Beresheet Readied for Launch

 

The launch of Beresheet was an accomplishment in any number of ways. The main cargo taken aloft was not Beresheet, but a communications satellite. Furthermore, the different items launched required different orbital incisions with Beresheet requiring an additional burn after the other payloads had been delivered. This was something unprecedented for the Space-X launch teams but it came off according to plan. This is the point where we require showing a video of the planned trajectories, engine fires and everything it is taking to get little Beresheet onto the Moon. Please watch and enjoy.

 

 

Beresheet carries equipment which will collect data on the magnetic field of the Moon and any fluctuations. NASA also provided a laser reflector on the spacecraft, which scientists will use to determine the exact distance to the moon, and to pinpoint the lander’s location. Beresheet also aims to deliver a time capsule to the moon with the Israeli flag, and digital copies of the Israeli national anthem, the Bible, and other national and cultural artifacts. The only sad thing is that Beresheet was designed to function for a mere two days mostly taking pictures and some various readings. We close with additional pictures, enjoy.

 

Moon with Earth in the Background

Moon with Earth in the Background

 

The Beresheet spacecraft’s six-minute deceleration burn Thursday steered the probe into orbit around the moon. Credit: SpaceIL

The Beresheet spacecraft’s six-minute deceleration burn Thursday steered the probe into orbit around the moon. Credit: SpaceIL

 

Mission Timeline

Mission Timeline

 

Photo of the LRA Laser Retroreflector Array image credit NASA-GSFC

Photo of the LRA Laser Retroreflector Array image credit NASA-GSFC

 

Arab Peninsula and Southeast Africa image credit SpaceIL and IAI

Arab Peninsula and Southeast Africa image credit SpaceIL and IAI

 

Beyond the Cusp

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