The first Israeli spacecraft to the moon, which will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida in February, will carry a time capsule with information and significant national symbols within it, Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced today.
Future generations will find in the time capsule three discs, each containing hundreds of digital files. Among them the Bible, the Israeli flag, Israel’s national anthem Hatikvah, Israel’s Declaration of Independence.
But the time capsule consists also cultural materials such as Israeli songs and paintings, dictionaries in 27 languages and encyclopedias, an indication of knowledge accumulated by all humanity thus far.
They added 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.
The time capsule, along with the spacecraft, has no plans to return to Earth. The spacecraft and information within the time capsule’s disks could be found by future generations.
In early February 2019, the spacecraft, named Beresheet (the Hebrew word for Genesis), will launch alongside other satellites as a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The precise launch date remains undetermined, as SpaceIL awaits final confirmation from the launch company.
In 2003 Israeli and Jewish symbols have been taken to space on Columbia space shuttle mission. Israeli Astronaut Col. Ilan Ramon, who was lost tragically along with six American crew members killed in a re-entry accident. Ramon took three items into space, 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 mezuzah designed by Aimee Golant.
“This is another step on our way to the moon,” said Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL. “Inserting the disks into the spacecraft, which is a real “time capsule,” indicates the spacecraft’s readiness to blast off from the launch site in a few weeks.”
Yonatan Winetraub, one of three SpaceIL founders, said, as he inserted the time capsule into a spacecraft: “This is a very emotional moment. We do not know how long the spacecraft and the time capsule will remain on the moon. It is very possible that future generations will find this information and want to learn more about this historic moment.”
The spacecraft successfully completed a series of recent tests to examine the integration of systems, and a series of complex experiments aimed at testing its durability. Concurrently, validation and verification tests checked the function of the spacecraft in scenarios it could experience during the mission. Since actual space conditions cannot be replicated, tests are carried out in part by a SpaceIL simulator that mimics space conditions and part on the spacecraft itself.
In October, SpaceIL and the Israeli Space Agency announced a collaboration with NASA that will enable SpaceIL to improve its ability to track and communicate with the spacecraft before, during, and after landing on the moon.
Two weeks ago a retro-reflector from NASA was installed on the spacecraft, an instrument that reflects laser beams and will enable NASA to precisely locate the spacecraft on the lunar surface after the landing. SpaceIL, the Israel Space Agency and NASA also agreed that NASA will have access to data gathered by the magnetometer installed aboard the Israeli spacecraft. The instrument, which was developed in collaboration with Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, will measure the magnetic field on and above the landing site.