Today is the day when Israel can join an elite and small group of nations — those who have successfully landed on the surface of the moon. The Times of Israel's Melanie Lidman tells us about the Beresheet lander and how its progress can be viewed from earth:
After 47 days and 6.5 million kilometers, the Beresheet journey is set to draw to a close on Thursday night as the four-legged spacecraft aims to land on the moon’s surface at 10:25 p.m. (Israel time). If successful, it will make Israel the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon.
Engineers activated Beresheet’s engines on Wednesday night for the final maneuver, putting the spacecraft into its smallest elliptical orbit around the moon, which meant it completed a full circuit in just two hours. At its closest point, the spacecraft is 15 to 17 kilometers (9.3-10.6 miles) above the moon’s surface.
If all goes to plan, the spacecraft will gently set down on the Sea of Serenity, and spend two to three days carrying out science experiments studying the moon’s magnetic field before the sun’s rays will become too strong and disable the spacecraft’s computers...