SpaceIL, the first unmanned Israeli spacecraft that is due in early 2019 to be sent to the moon, will take a time capsule with significant Israeli objects within it. Since the spacecraft is not expected to return to Earth, its information is likely to remain in the moon indefinitely and may be found and viewed by future generations.
The time capsule will contain national and traditional symbols such as the Bible, Israel’s Declaration of Independence, the Israeli flag, the hope, the prayer recited before travelling (Tfillat Haderech), Israeli songs, a collection of paintings by Israeli children and other materials collected over the past few years from the general public and more.
The organizers announced that they also plan to store on board encyclopedias and dictionaries in 27 languages as a symbol of information accumulated by all humanity; a children’s book inspired by the mission to the moon, Israeli literature, science books and discoveries and Israeli developments that influenced the world; info-graphic information on the State of Israel, including maps and landscapes; documentation of the SpaceIL mission from its inception, including original drawings of the spacecraft, data and information on how it was built, hundreds of digital files with details about the SpaceIL association that is building and sending the spacecraft.
It will not, however, be the first time that Israeli and Jewish objects have been taken to space. Col. Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut who was lost tragically along with six American crew members of the 2003 Columbia space shuttle mission killed in a re-entry accident, took three items into space. They were a copy of child Holocaust victim Petr Ginz’s “Moon Landscape” (another copy was taken to the International Space Station this year); a miniature Torah scroll given to him by Prof. Yehoyachin Yosef, a Holocaust survivor of Bergen-Belsen; and a barbed wire mezuza designed by Aimee Golant.
SpaceIL was the only Israeli competitor in the international competition Google Lunar XPRIZE. To win the first prize of $20 million, competitors were required to land an unmanned spaceship on the moon. The contest came to an official end without a winner being announced in March, when Goggle said it was cancelling its sponsorship. SpaceIL said it would nevertheless continue its mission after being able to raise the funding needed to continue.
The spacecraft will be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on a Falcon 9 missile along with two large satellites that are part of other missions. The final launch date has not yet been announced, as it will be announced by the launching company.
“This is another step on our way to the moon,” said SpaceIL CEO Ido Anteby. SpaceIL’s design team and the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), which is participating in the project, are preparing for the start of the amazing and complex journey that embodies innovation, creativity and daring. The spacecraft’s historic journey, which also includes a scientific mission, makes a significant contribution to advancing the space industry and the subject of space in Israel,” Anteby added.
“We do not know how long the spacecraft will remain on the moon and with the time capsule,” said Yehonatan Weintraub, one of the founders of the association. “It is very possible that in the future they will find different factors that would like to learn more about this historical moment.”
Ofer Doron, director of the IAI’s space factory, said: “We are proud to be the first non-governmental mission in the world to go to the moon. There is no doubt that the technological know-how acquired by IAI developed over more than 30 years puts us on the global front in the ability to accomplish missions to the moon. “
The spacecraft team successfully completed a series of tests to examine the integration of the various systems in the spacecraft and a series of complex experiments aimed at testing its durability. At the same time, validation and validation tests were carried out in various scenarios in the mission stages. The spacecraft will soon make its way to the US launch site.
Two weeks ago, a laser reflector was installed on the spacecraft to allow America’s NASA to locate the spacecraft on the moon. SpaceIL will also share NASA data from the scientific experiment to measure the magnetic field at the landing site.