Israel has made history last Thursday Night when the first privately funded Israeli spacecraft took off for the moon.
Until Thursday only Russia, the United States, and China have sent spacecraft to the moon. The 585-kg Beresheet lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Thursday night. Mission control is stationed in Yehud, a town just south of Tel Aviv to track progress.
Beresheet is first orbiting the earth, traveling a total of 6.5 million kilometers, the longest distance ever traveled to the moon, which is only about 380,000 kilometers from our planet.
The Israeli spacecraft contains a “time capsule” loaded with digital files including a Bible, children’s drawings, Israeli songs, memories of a Holocaust survivor and the blue-and-white Israeli flag.
Beresheet is the first spacecraft to land on the moon as a private initiative, rather than a government project. The mission started in response to the Google Lunar XPrize, which offered a $30-million reward to encourage scientists and entrepreneurs to come up with a relatively inexpensive lunar mission.