Israel To Launch First Privately Funded Moon Mission (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: A team of Israeli scientists is to launch what will be the first privately funded mission to land on the moon this week, sending a spacecraft to collect data from the lunar surface. Named Beresheet, the Hebrew word for Genesis, the 585kg (1,290lb) robotic lander will blast off from Florida at 01.45 GMT on Friday, propelled by one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets. Once it touches down, in several weeks, it will measure the magnetic field of the moon to help understand how it formed. Beresheet will also deposit a “time capsule” of digital files the size of coins containing the Bible, children’s drawings, Israel’s national anthem and blue and white flag, as well as memories of a Holocaust survivor. While it is not a government-led initiative, the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) corporation joined as a partner. If the mission is successful, Israel will become the fourth country, after Russia, the U.S. and China, to reach the moon. “This is the lowest-budget spacecraft to ever undertake such a mission,” an IAI statement said of the $100 million project. “The superpowers who managed to land a spacecraft on the moon have spent hundreds of millions.” It added that although it was a private venture, Beresheet was a “national and historic achievement.”

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