The moon is in reach for Israel’s Beresheet mission. The privately funded SpaceIL spacecraft is currently orbiting our lunar neighbor and making preparations to attempt a soft landing Thursday. SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries will broadcast live from the mission control room. Contact Global Broadcasting Services is hosting the landing page for the video feed. SpaceIL is eyeing a touchdown time around noon PT on Thursday, which would put the landing late in the evening Israeli time. We can expect a more exact schedule as the event nears. Beresheet completed the delicate operation of moving into moon orbit last week, setting the stage for what could be a historic landing in the Sea of Serenity. SpaceIL could become the first private, nongovernment group to set a lander on the moon’s surface. The mission launched Feb. 21 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and survived a technical glitch to get to where it is now. The lander is equipped with cameras to document the lunar surface and will measure the moon’s magnetic field. Beresheet carries not just scientific gear, but also a time capsule. If the lander makes it, it’ll already have some active company. China is currently operating a lander and rover on the mysterious far side. Israel would then join the US, Soviet Union and China as just the fourth country to successfully land a mission on the moon. That’s a moment in time worth watching. Originally published April 8.
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