ISRAEL - Privately-Financed Probe to Land on Moon

Arno Froese

Behold “Beresheet”—the lander that [took] off from Cape Canaveral on board a Space-X Falcon 9 rocket. Its name refers to the first week of the Torah and translates to “The Beginning.”

The naming is apt as the project represents a new beginning—in two respects. It will not only be Israel’s first moon landing, but it is also the first entirely privately initiated and financed moon mission ever.

The idea behind Beresheet was first sparked by a competition: the Google Lunar X Prize, launched in 2007. Google’s call out was directed exclusively at private competitors to design a landing robot for the moon by the end of March 2018. It should be able to travel 500 meters [1,640 feet] on the moon and send high-resolution video images back to Earth.

The Space IL team, founded by engineers Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub, has designed a very unusual method of locomotion for their lander: to travel the required 500 meters, Beresheet simply jumps with the help of a small rocket engine.

Given the low gravitational pull on the moon, jumping probably won’t be too much of a challenge. And SpaceIL undoubtedly has the ability to transmit high-resolution videos and images.

But the builders of Beresheet have also included something special in their design: a time capsule. 

The time capsule contains three digital storage discs with hundreds of files. Israel’s Declaration of Independence, its national anthem, Hebrew songs, the Traveler’s Prayer, are all included, as well as drawings by children.

The probe will also be scientifically integrated into existing research projects. For example, Beresheet has a magnetometer on board which will transmit data to the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Above all, however, SpaceIL is about getting young people excited about space exploration, technology and engineering.

-www.dw.com/en, 20 February 2019

Arno's commentary

Israel continues to fascinate the world. A country of barely 9 million, of which 75% are Jews, is now competing with the big players in space travel: the USA, Russia, the EU, and China. Surrounded and threatened by several Arab nations, Israel is doing rather well in spite of it. For example, life expectancy stands at 82.7 years. The GDP per capita was $36,400 for 2017. That is a lopsided figure when compared with the surrounding nations in the Middle East. 

Technology is the key; there seems to be no end to Israel’s inventiveness, surprising the giant nations of the world almost daily. What is Israel’s future? Here Jeremiah proclaims: “And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it” (Jeremiah 33:8-9).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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