Israels Beresheet spacecraft beams back selfie with Earth in background

Rodiano Bonacci
Marzo 9, 2019

But with Israel's Beresheet Mission, this impossible deed came to be true.

It shows the spacecraft Beresheet, Hebrew for Genesis, orbiting some 23,300 miles (37,600 kilometers) away, with the entire Earth as the stunning Apollo-style backdrop.

The 1.5 meter spacecraft transmitted the photo to the control room in Yehud, Israel, which is staffed day and night by engineers from SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries.

"At a distance of 37,600 km from Earth, Beresheet's selfie camera took a picture of Earth", SpaceIL tweeted.

Beresheet took off from Cape Canaveral in Florida on February 22 in an SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket. It had missed a scheduled maneuver when its computer reset unexpectedly and automatically canceled the engine burn, but it remains on schedule to touch down on the moon on or around April 11. 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. That's a fitting title for a craft that Israel hopes will be just the start of its space program as the nation seeks to become just the fourth country to land on the moon, joining the United States, Russia, and China.

The unmanned craft, weighing 1,300 pounds and standing about one metre tall and 2.3 metres wide, began the almost seven-week journey to the Moon last month. The spacecraft also packs a "time capsule" that comprises a Bible, children's drawings, Israeli songs, memories of a Holocaust survivor, and the country's national flag. It is supposed to collect information from the moon.

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