In interesting time we live in. Yesterday we showed the first real picture of a black hole, today we expect not less interesting and in some extent also a historic event – landing a private spacecraft on the lunar surface. To date to land on the satellite of our planet have managed just three countries. Today their number may increase to four, of course, if all goes as planned.
With the help of the American carrier rocket Falcon 9 SpaceX February 21, 2019 the launch of the first private Israeli space mission, whose goal is the landing of the spacecraft “Genesis” on Earth. Operators of the mission are private Israeli company SpaceIL aerospace and governmental concern Israel Aerospace Industries (he assembled the lander).
The last six weeks since the launch of the device slowly but surely, through a series of corrective maneuvers were removed from the Earth and closer to the lunar orbit, which it finally came on 4 April. There he spent the last week in preparation and anticipation of the climax part of the mission – in fact most attempts to make a soft landing on the lunar surface.
This time must come today. The event will be streamed live on the YouTube channel of SpaceIL (player below) from the control center of the mission. Also the progress of the landing you can check on official page of company in Facebook. The broadcast starts at 21:45 GMT.
If all goes as planned, Israel will join the list of countries (USA, USSR and China), which managed to soft land a spacecraft on the lunar surface. As the landing team “Genesis” chose the Sea of Tranquility – great lowland, located near our eyes the moon’s surface. Here, at the time made landing spacecraft of the American lunar program “Apollo”.
The surface topography of the 140-km zone of the landing of the spacecraft “Genesis”
After landing for several days before the onset of lunar night the module will engage in various activities. Of course, the main task is to successfully land the spacecraft, and thereby test current engineering capabilities (read: your ego stroked), therefore, any scientific and other activities here are rather of secondary importance. However, besides the obvious of shooting the moon’s surface “Bereshit” should perform a couple important tasks. The first is to send to the moon a special device retroreflector, which is a system of laser mirrors, which will be carried out calculations of the distance of the machine to the Ground. More about this can be read in one of our previous articles.
The second task “Bereshit” is related to the scientific aspect. The module needs to carry out measurements of the magnetic field of the satellite. As additional “bonus” unit will bring to the moon an Israeli flag, a large set of articles the English Wikipedia, copy of the Bible, as well as drawings made by Israeli children in the local scientific and educational programs.
Recall that the “mission Genesis” began as a project for the contest Google Lunar X Prize, launched in 2007. In its framework the participants were asked to create a lunar Rover and land it on the surface of the satellite, after a photo and video shooting and moving on the surface at least for a few tens of meters. The first team that would manage this task, promised $ 20 million in prize money. However, none of the participating teams failed to get on announced deadline. Therefore, the prize remained unclaimed. The Israeli SpaceIL, the developer “Bereshit”, decided to continue working on their module and attracted private investment for this purpose. The project cost has increased to $ 100 million (including launch). Seeing the success of a private company, the organizers of the Lunar X Prize decided to award Israeli start-up. In the case of a successful landing, the company will receive a consolation prize Moonshot Award in the amount of $ 1 million.
It should also be noted that the project “Genesis” is not the only mission related to the Moon this year. For example, in early January, on the back surface of the satellite made a soft landing, the Chinese lander and Rover mission “Chang’e-4”. The couple has already gone through third lunar night and continues to work for the benefit of China. Its first lunar mission “Chandrayaan-2”, the landing apparatus on the surface of the satellite, this year plans to implement Indian space research organization (ISRO). The American space Agency NASA repeatedly said that this year will begin the first phase of the program aimed at returning humans to the moon in 2024. Until the end of 2019, the Agency plans to send to the moon a few commercial landers and scientific instruments aboard.
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