Published: Fri, March 08, 2019
Science | By Michele Flores

Israel's Moon-Bound Spacecraft Sends Back First Selfie From 20K Miles Over Earth

Israel's Moon-Bound Spacecraft Sends Back First Selfie From 20K Miles Over Earth

Tuesday's selfie, which was taken above Australia, showcases the plaque Beresheet (Genesis in Hebrew) was outfitted with. Launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket last month, Beresheet is set to enter the moon's orbit April 4 before landing seven days later.

The Beresheet lander, which is the size of a dishwasher and takes its name from the Hebrew phrase for "In the Beginning", was built by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries with almost $100 million in backing from Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn, Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson and other private donors. The the only country to send humans to the moon with 12 men walking on its surface during the Apollo missions between 1969-1972.

China's Chang'e-4 made the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon on January 3, after a probe sent by Beijing made a lunar landing elsewhere in 2013. The photo was made possible due to the process of a slow spin of the spacecraft, before it will be pulled by the gravitational force of the Moon and the landing process is to begin.

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It also carries a "time capsule" loaded with digital files containing a Bible, children's drawings, Israeli songs, memories of a Holocaust survivor and the blue-and-white Israeli flag.

NASA, which has installed equipment on Beresheet to upload its signals from the moon, says it is inviting private sector bids to build and launch the USA probes.

Israel joins Russian Federation, the United States and China in their missions to the moon. Japan, the European Space Agency and India have all crash-landed probes on the moon.

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