By: Morgan Sharbaugh
On February 21, 2019, Israel took a giant step forward for their country. Leaving Cape Canaveral, an Israeli spacecraft began its journey toward the moon.
The spacecraft, dubbed Beresheet which is Israeli for Genesis, will truly be a new beginning for Israel, making the nation the fourth country on the Moon, joining Russia, the United States, and China. The original drive for this project was the Google Lunar X Prize, a competition to put privately owned companies on the moon. After the competition called it quits in 2018, billionaires and school children alike decided to pitch in and provide money for the nonprofit company SpaceIL to send Beresheet to the moon.
Beresheet is a small four-legged craft, barely the size of a washing machine, but has the capability to measure the magnetic field of the landing site, collect pictures, and send the data back to Earth. Due to its size and the budget of SpaceIL, Beresheet “Ubered” its way to the moon. Elon Musk’s commercial space flight company SpaceX was sending a rocket into orbit, and Beresheet hitched a ride. Since the spacecraft entered orbit in a nontraditional way, it will take longer for it to get to the moon. Beresheet will orbit Earth in ever-increasing loops around the earth until the Moon’s gravity pulls it in where Beresheet will land at the Sea of Serenity on April 11.