On the way to the moon, Beresheet completes another maneuver

The Israeli spacecraft completed a maneuver on Tuesday and communicated with the IAI and SpaceIL control room ahead of its expected arrival to the moon.

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March 20, 2019 05:10
1 minute read.
On the way to the moon, Beresheet completes another maneuver

From ground-based telescopes, this cosmic object - the glowing remains of a dying, Sun-like star - resembles the head and thorax of a garden-variety ant. This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, released on February 1, 2001, of the so-called "ant nebula" (Menzel 3, or Mz3) shows even more detail,. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The Israeli spacecraft Beresheet completed a successful maneuver on Tuesday, activating the engine for a full minute as the engineering team gets ready to optimize the spacecraft trajectory to the lunar capture.

If all goes as planned, Beresheet will reach the Moon on April 4.

A team of scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science along with SpaceIL engineers have identified the site for the spacecraft’s lunar landing.

The chosen site – selected by Prof. Oded Aharonson of the Weizmann Institute and Prof. Jim Head of Brown University – is located in the northeastern part of Mare Serenitatis, a few hundred miles east of the Apollo 15 landing site and a similar distance northwest from the Apollo 17 site.

Three alternate landing sites were also identified.

The terrain in these locations is composed of material characteristic of ancient mare surfaces – large, dark basalt plains resulting from ancient volcanic eruptions – on which successful landings have been made, explained Weizmann in the release.

The selection criteria for the site focused on ensuring a safe landing – searching for sites with relatively few craters, exposed rocks or steep slopes within the landing area, factors that could jeopardize the touchdown. In addition, the scientists searched for a location on the Moon where the crust is magnetic, so as to allow the magnetometer – the main scientific instrument on board Beresheet – to carry out its investigations.

The magnetometer was just recently and successfully turned on in space and the data returned to Earth.

The Beresheet spacecraft is currently orbiting Earth and performing maneuvers in preparation for lunar orbit insertion, followed by the planned landing at the chosen site

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