Publicado: Mier, Julio 11, 2018
Ciencia | Por Aurelio Ontiveros

Israel announces mission to land spacecraft on the Moon


SpaceIL was founded in 2011 and originally vied for Google's Lunar Xprize, which challenged private companies to try to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon.

An Israeli organization announced plans Tuesday to launch the country's first spacecraft to the moon by early 2019.

Nevertheless, despite concern that its activity would be terminated for lack of money, SpaceIL continued its activity with the aim of adding Israel to the exclusive club of countries that have landed on the Moon, the only members of which are the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China. The spaceship will be sent to the Cape Canaveral in the USA for its launch a month before that and is scheduled to land on the Moon on February 13, 2019.

SpaceIL will ship the as yet unnamed module to the United States in November ahead of the launch.

The project culminated in the design of an Israeli lunar probe, which SpaceIL claimed would launch regardless of the contest's outcome.

The research, conducted in cooperation with scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, will use a magnetometer on the spacecraft to attempt to understand how the rocks on the moon received their magnetism.

"This is a tremendous project", Kahn said.

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Despite financial pitfalls in recent years that almost saw SpaceIL's spacecraft grounded permanently, the team is confident that December's launch will take place on time.

"This project will take the aerospace industry into deep space", said Kahn, SpaceIL's main donor and president.

Its first task however will be to plant an Israeli flag on the moon, organizers said.

Israel has emerged as a technological titan in recent decades, producing a profusion of high-tech companies and drawing heavy global investment.

Israeli billionaire and investor Morris Kahn (left) answers journalists' questions in front of a Israeli Aerospace Industries spacecraft during a news conference Tuesday to announce its launch to the moon, in Yehud, Eastern Tel Aviv.

"What we're doing is we're trying to replicate the Apollo effect in the United States", Kahn told reporters, referring to the surge in interest in science and engineering after the USA space program landed on the moon in 1969.

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