• Israel is to launch its first moon mission sending an unmanned spacecraft to collect data to be shared with NASA.
  • The 585-kilogram (1,290-pound) Beresheet (Genesis) spacecraft is to lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
  • Genesis will make its 6.5-million kilometre journey at a maximum speed of 10 kilometres per second.
  • It will carry a “time capsule” loaded with digital files containing a Bible, children’s drawings, Israeli songs, memories of a Holocaust survivor and the blue-and-white Israeli flag.
  • The $100-million project will measure the lunar magnetic field to help understanding of the moon’s formation.
  • This is the lowest-budget spacecraft to ever undertake such a mission.
  • The superpowers who managed to land a spacecraft on the moon have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in government funding.
  • Beresheet is the first spacecraft to land on the moon as a result of a private initiative, rather than a government.
  • The project started as a potential entry for the Google Lunar XPrize, which in 2010 offered a $30-million reward to encourage scientists and entrepreneurs to offer relatively inexpensive lunar missions.
  • The contest closed without a winner in March 2018 but SpaceIL decided to keep working on the challenge.