The surface of the moon as captured by Beresheet with the Earth in the background.
(photo credit: BERESHEET)
Israel is poised this week to become the 4th country to land a craft on the moon when Beresheet touches down on April 11th.
Beresheet, the Space IL spacecraft, is scheduled to land on the moon on April 11, one week after successfully completing its most critical maneuver on Thursday afternoon.
During the complex moon-capture maneuver successfully carried out by SpaceIL's engineering team and IAI on Thursday night, Beresheet photographed spectacular images of the moon while the engines were running and at the peak of the moon's capture maneuver.
The images provide a rare visibility of the lunar surface in perspective that can not be photographed from Earth. One picture shows the earth is hidden by the moon. The larger craters seen on surface are the oldest craters of more than 4.5 billion years old, the smaller craters are younger.
In another picture the far side of the moon is visible while the Earth is in the background.
The photographs were taken from a height of 470 km above the moon surface from the fourth peripheral camera of Beresheet.
With the success of Lunar Capture, Israel has become the seventh country to enter the moon's orbit
During the coming week, intensive maneuvers and preparations for the landing will be conducted.
The maneuver, termed Lunar Capture, was a significant moment in the module's journey to the moon, as it exited the earth gravitational pull and entered the moon's orbit.
Although the maneuver looked like it successfully completed the mission, engineers from Space IL and the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)
said that it will take several hours to definitively confirm Beresheet's new path.
The spacecraft has now been captured by the moon's gravity and will begin circling it. Together, the moon and Beresheet will orbit the earth.
Until today, the spacecraft has been traveling on the Earth's orbit, and at the beginning of this week reached the closest point to the planet, only 1,700 kilometers away, before continuing it's path to the landing point on he moon, about 400,000 km away.
Watch the successful maneuver below.
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