The dream of conquering space and winning a place in the space race is only for a few. Only Russia, China and the United States have managed to conquer the Moon and wave their flag on Earth’s lone natural satellite’s. And only the United States has managed to actually land a human on the lunar surface.
Now a new competitor is about to reach that longed dream and plant its flag on the natural satellite: Israel.
The project is scheduled for the beginning of next year and will be carried out by the company SpaceIL, a private initiative in collaboration with the Aerospace Industry of Israel funded by several Jewish businessmen, which hope to launch the first Israeli lunar probe.
Yigal Harel, head of SpaceIL’s space program, gushingly announced the project. “This marvel will land on the moon on February 13, 2019,” he said during a press conference. According to Harel, Israeli engineers have been working on the project for seven years.
The probe, with 6.5 feet in diameter, 4.9 feet in height and nearly 1,322 pounds in weight, will be the smallest space body to reach the moon so far. Its large spider legs are designed to absorb the impact of the landing and allow the probe to work autonomously for several days on the lunar surface.
“For two days we will conduct several scientific experiments and deploy an Israeli flag for future generations that we hope may one day visit the moon,” Harel explained. One of those experiments, designed by the Weizmann Institute of Sciences, will be to measure the magnetic field of the Moon.
The unmanned device will be sent to the United States in November to begin preparations for its launch, which will be carried out from Cape Canaveral aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
The probe, presented in the Israeli city of Yehud, will land on the lunar surface after a long journey during which it will orbit for about two months around the Earth. “It’s a way to save fuel and ensure a smooth landing. That’s why when it arrives at it destination it will weigh only 396 pounds “, assured Ido Anteby.
According to one of the entrepreneurs who support the project, the Jewish philanthropist Morris Khan, the investment made in the important Israeli project is at least $95 million.