Touchdown today: Israel’s Genesis spacecraft approaching lunar surface

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Selfie taken by Beresheet 25 KM above the moon as it lands.

Once Genesis touches the lunar surface, Israel will have entered the history books as only the fourth country to successfully land a spacecraft on the moon, sharing the honor with far larger countries with much deeper pockets - the U.S., China and Russian Federation.

Only three countries have ever landed a spacecraft on the moon: America, Russia and China.

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Of course, Bosa has since then been Twitter verified by the site and changed his avi but this is very much his tweet. San Francisco now holds the No. 2 selection in the draft, which will kick off on Thursday, April 25, in Nashville.


The Google Lunar X-Prize, announced in 2007, required a safe landing on the Moon by the end of 2014, sending high definition images and video, and traveling 500 meters (1640 feet) on the lunar surface, and the first lander to succeed would win the first prize of $20 million, with smaller prizes awarded to the second place finisher as well as teams that accomplished certain objectives.

When the landing moment comes, a series of commands from SpaceIL and IAI's control room in the central Israeli city of Yehud, will activate the spacecraft's sensors, after which its engine will run as it makes its way to the landing site. SpaceIL's launch contract with SpaceX and Spaceflight Industries was finalized and the mission was slotted to fly along with the Indonesian Nusantara Satu and USAF AFRL S5 satellites on a Falcon 9 Block 5. The $100 million venture is the first private initiative of its kind, paving the way, said backers, for private space travel in the future.

At launch it weighed 585 kilograms, most of which was fuel burned during its circuitous flight path of around 6.5 million kilometres. It aims to put a craft with a rover onto the moon's surface to collect data. All were government-sponsored endeavors.

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It's been a number of weeks since Israel launched a privately-funded mission orbit and then land on Earth's Moon. The SpaceIL team was helped by multiple donations from the Israeli Space Agency as well as a donation from billionaire Sheldon Adelson in 2014.

Beresheet is Hebrew for "in the beginning". Netanyahu wants a whole Israeli spaceship on the moon within 2 years. The probe is the brainchild of three Israeli engineers running a nonprofit company SpaceIL partnered with Israel Aerospace Industries. It was these connections that last summer helped facilitate agreements with NASA and Musk's SpaceX. Israel's only astronaut, Ilan Ramon, was among the seven-member crew of the space shuttle Columbia when it disintegrated upon reentry into the Earth's atmosphere in 2003.

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