Beresheet is about to land on the Moon

Beresheet is about to land on the Moon

Beresheet is about to land on the Moon



Jason Davis • April 10, 2019

The big moment has come: SpaceIL's Beresheet spacecraft is about to land on the Moon! The first attempt is scheduled for tomorrow, April 11, late afternoon, Israel time. SpaceIL is still finalizing the planned trajectory of the spacecraft, and an exact landing time has not been publicly announced. I will continue updating this publication as we learn more.

Beresheet

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Brief notices

Since arriving at the Moon on April 4, Beresheet has slowly reduced its orbit with a series of motor burns. On Tuesday, it circulated its orbit at an altitude of barely 200 kilometers. With a burn on Wednesday, Beresheet will lower the periluna, or low point of its orbit, only 15 kilometers above its eventual landing site at Mare Serenitatis.

From there, it will only take one burn on Thursday to put Beresheet on course to land. Before launch, SpaceIL said the spacecraft would take about 20 minutes to land after the burn. The main engine of the lander will fire again at the last moment to set the ship on the surface.

At this time, SpaceIL predicts that the landing will occur between 10 pm and 11 pm, Israeli time, on April 11. There will be a live broadcast from the control room, which you can see here.

The current landing times Beresheet April 11:

  • 22:00 – 23:00 Israel
  • 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM UTC
  • 3:00 – 4:00 EDT
  • 12:00 – 13:00 PDT

On April 3, the Weizmann Institute of Science, which oversees the scientific experiment of the Beresheet magnetometer, published a brief article on the landing site. Here is a topographic map of the landing zone 140 kilometers from Beresheet:

Landing site of Beresheet "clbad =" img840 "src =" https://planetary.s3.amazonaws.com/badets/images/3-earth/2019/20190409_beresheet-landing-site_f840.png

The Weizmann Institute of Science

Landing site of Beresheet

A topographic map of the landing site of Beresheet in Mare Serenitatis, created with data from LRO and Kayuga. The area is 140 kilometers wide and the topography is exaggerated on a scale of 40: 1. The crater on the lower right is Posidonius E.

Animation of the Beresheet landing site "clbad =" img840 "src =" https://planetary.s3.amazonaws.com/badets/images/3-moon/2019/20190409_beresheet-landing-site.gif

The Weizmann Institute of Science

Animation of the Beresheet landing site

A topographic map of the landing site of Beresheet in Mare Serenitatis, created with data from LRO and Kayuga. The area is 140 kilometers wide and the topography is exaggerated on a scale of 40: 1.

There are also 3 smaller sites in the area that were previously identified in a document by the mission team, which Phil Stooke has mapped:

Landing site of Beresheet in Mare Serentitas "clbad =" img840 "src =" https://planetary.s3.amazonaws.com/badets/images/3-moon/2019/20190409_landing_site_map_f840.jpg

Phil Stooke

Landing site of Beresheet in Mare Serentitas

This map of the Beresheet landing sites was created from the wide-angle mosaic data of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and shows three sites identified in Aharonson et al. (2019).

A successful landing will turn SpaceIL into the first private organization, and Israel into the fourth country, into soft land on the Moon. Although the Google Lunar X Prize has already expired, its parent XPRIZE Foundation recently announced a $ 1 million "Moonshot prize" that SpaceIL will receive if Beresheet stays with the landing.

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