Israel's 1st spacecraft en route to Moon takes Earth selfie

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Israel's 1st spacecraft en route to Moon takes Earth selfie

Thursday, 07 March 2019 | IANS | Jerusalem

Israel's 1st spacecraft en route to Moon takes Earth selfie

Barely two weeks into its historic journey to the Moon, Israel's first spacecraft has taken a selfie of the Earth from a distance of 37,600 km.

The unmanned craft, called "Beresheet" (meaning genesis in Hebrew), took the photograph during a slow spin, Israeli non-profit SpaceIL tweeted on Tuesday. 

Besides Australia, the selfie also showed a plaque installed on the spacecraft, with the Israeli flag and the inscriptions "am yisrael chai" and "small country big dreams".

"At a distance of 37,600 km from Earth, Beresheet's selfie camera took a picture of Earth," SpaceIL tweeted. 

The Beresheet, launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on February 21 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in the US, made Israel only the fourth nation to make a "soft landing" on the lunar surface, after Russia, US and China. 

The unmanned craft, weighing 1,300 pounds and standing about one metre tall and 2.3 metres wide, began the nearly seven-week journey to the Moon last month. It aims to touch down on the lunar surface on April 11.

After landing, Beresheet will start carrying out scientific experiments that would include measuring and mapping the moon's magnetic field, the Israeli Science and Technology Ministry said.

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