Israel on Wednesday announced plans to send a second spacecraft – Bereshit 2 – to the moon, following the landing crash of the first Bereshit probe last year.
By unveiling the project with President Reuven Rivlin at his residence in Jerusalem, the Israeli non-profit organization SpaceIL, in cooperation with Israel Aerospace Industries and the Israel Space Agency within the Ministry of Science and Technology, has said she plans to launch the probe in 2024.
Having said shortly after last year’s attempt that a new moon landing “was not a sufficient challenge,” SpaceIL said on Tuesday that the new probe will be a significant advance over the first and will in fact include three spacecraft. – an orbiter and two landers. The specific plans for the scientific research to be conducted have not been disclosed.
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Bereshit 1, the world’s first private lunar lander, collided with the lunar surface in April 2019 during a landing attempt, due to a technical failure.
“Just a year and a half ago, we were here together, when Israel held its breath and looked at the stars. We anxiously watched the Bereshit spacecraft on its historic journey to the moon. We watched its long journey, marveled at the researchers and filled with pride at the Israeli daring and capabilities that flourished here and in the groundbreaking work of SpaceIL.
“We were disappointed and realized we had to start over from the beginning,” Rivlin said during the announcement.
“Today we are embarking on a new, familiar but different path, at the end of which we hope to land three spacecraft safely on the moon,” said the president, adding that “the project will push the boundaries of human knowledge through revolutionary scientific experiments, which will help us better understand the universe in which we live ”.
Bereshit means “beginning”, and is also the Hebrew name for the book of Genesis.
Less than 48 hours after the crash, SpaceIL President Morris Kahn announced the launch of Project Bereshit 2. The South African-born billionaire largely funded the first project.
SpaceIL CEO Shimon Sarid said that with this new $ 100 million project, funded mostly by donations, the Jewish state is “aiming high … not just space, but the long-term future. of the State of Israel ”.
“We will do this by arousing curiosity and hope, the ability to dream and achieve, and by strengthening technological education, research, science and engineering for Israeli students. In doing so, we will ensure Israel’s technological mobility for today’s schoolchildren who are the scientists and engineers of tomorrow, ”he said.
The first Bereshit program also cost nearly $ 100 million and was funded almost entirely by private donations from well-known Jewish philanthropists, including Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, Lynn Schusterman, and others.
The new project is expected to receive similar funding.
Bereshit 1 was developed in response to the Google Lunar X Prize competition, which challenged non-governmental groups to land a spacecraft on the moon. The award committee decided, a few days after the crash, to award SpaceIL a “Moonshot Award” of one million dollars for its achievements.
Minister of Science and Technology Izhar Shay said that seven countries from five continents have expressed interest in participating in the project, and that in conversations with the United Arab Emirates, the subject has been brought up several times ” .
“I have no doubt that Bereshit will once again stimulate our imaginations, redefine the limits of what is possible and secure Israel’s status as an innovative powerhouse,” he added.