Okay, that title from NBC News is a bit misleading. Rest assured, true strange readers, that the nation of Israel itself is not orbiting the moon. In fact, at this point in human history, no nation has orbited the moon, ever. Nations have, however, sent spacecraft to do so and Israel’s successful Beresheet craft has made it the seventh nation to orbit a space ship around the Moon.
Israel just became the seventh nation to orbit the moon.
After slowly spiraling away from Earth for the past six weeks, an Israeli spacecraft known as Beresheet slipped into orbit around the moon today (April 4).
This was a historic achievement for the little robot, but it paves the way for something truly epic: a lunar touchdown attempt a week from now. If Beresheet succeeds on April 11, it will become the first Israeli craft, and the first privately funded vehicle, ever to land softly on the surface of the moon.
“The lunar capture is an historic event in and of itself — but it also joins Israel in a seven-nation club that has entered the moon’s orbit,” Morris Kahn said in a statement. “A week from today, we’ll make more history by landing on the moon, joining three superpowers who have done so. Today I am proud to be an Israeli.”
The spacecraft entered lunar orbit Thursday, capturing the dramatic pictures of Earth’s natural satellite. Beresheet is expected to reach the lunar surface around 4 p.m. ET on April 11.
Good luck to it! It is quite a thing. I do wonder about all the wires hanging out. Are they saving weight by not having an enclosure around the craft? I guess wires hanging out of a spaceship do not really matter in space?
UPDATE: In the featured image (top) of this post is what the craft looks like at launch time with its gold foil cover on.
How would I do it? I’d create a solar powered space balloon that was attracted like a moth to moonlight. As a balloon, it would need no launch vehicle, you see… Devil is in the details, however. 😉