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To the Moon

An Israeli aerospace company is set to reach for the stars — or the lunar surface, at the very least. The Times of Israel's Shoshanna Solomon reports that SpaceIL will be launching a lunar spacecraft next year that will carry with it the very best of the Holy Land, including Israel's Declaration of Independence and national anthem, a Holocaust survivor's story, and the Bible:

Israel’s Declaration of Independence and national anthem. The Bible. The memories of a Holocaust survivor. Children’s drawings of space and the moon; art, science, literature and technology; the Traveler’s Prayer and a note from former president Shimon Peres containing a verse from the Book of Genesis. All of these — three discs containing hundreds of digital files — were inserted Monday in a time capsule scheduled to head to the moon sometime next year, when Israel hopes to launch and land its first ever spacecraft to the moon.

If all goes well, the unmanned spacecraft worked on by the Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will give Israel entry into the exclusive club of just three nations that have so far achieved a controlled landing on the moon’s surface. The capsule was the last component to go into the vehicle, before it is shipped to Florida to be launched from Cape Canaveral in the coming months.

The pictures, along with art, science and history books, “we will be taking with us to the moon,” said Yonatan Winetraub, one of three engineers who founded SpaceIL, a nonprofit organization set up in 2011 with the aim of landing the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon. “It is quite symbolic that the people of the book are going to take this library and put it on the surface of the moon,” he said, speaking at IAI’s Space Division in Yehud, some 40 minutes from Tel Aviv, at an event as the capsule was loaded onto the spacecraft...

“Today, we are putting all those dreams in the spaceship, like you would take an note and put it in the Western Wall, wishing for a bright future,” Winetraub added. The cracks between the stones of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, considered the holiest site Jews can pray at, are filled with notes conveying the requests of its visitors.

In early 2019, the spacecraft, recently named Beresheet — the Hebrew word for Genesis — will launch alongside other satellites as a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket...

Tags: History , Israel

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