The stakes for the historic landing attempt of an Israeli moon lander next month have even increased.
When everything goes according to plan on April 11, the robotic lander, known as Beresheet becomes the first privately-funded ship to ever make a gentle lunar contact. To date, only the governments of the Soviet Union, the United States and China have landed missions on the moon.
With success, Beresheet's construction workers – the nonprofit group SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries – will also be rewarded with one million dollars by the X Prize Foundation.
Related: Israel's 1st Lunar Beresheet in Pictures
"The SpaceIL Mission Represents the Democratization of Space Research," X Prize Founder and Executive Chairman Peter Diamandis said today (March 28) in a statement announcing this "Moonshot Award".
"We are optimistic that this first domino will fall and trigger a chain reaction of ever more affordable and repeatable commercial missions to the Moon and beyond." Diamandis added. (The total cost of the Beresheet mission, including start-up, is approximately $ 1
The X-Prize charitable organization holds large-budget tournaments designed to promote technology breakthroughs in a variety of fields. One such event was the Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP), a $ 30 million raffle that invited privately funded teams to land a robot on the moon and the vehicle at least 500 meters to move on the moon surface and let high-resolution images keep away from the earth.
The GLXP ended last year without a winner, but several former participants further developed their robotic moon missions . One of them is SpaceIL, which was founded in 2011 to fight for the prize.
"Although the Google Lunar X prize has not been exhausted, we are pleased to have encouraged a variety of teams from around the world to pursue their ambitious moon missions." We are proud to announce the achievements of SpaceIL with this one To honor the Moonshot Award, "said Anousheh Ansari, CEO of X Prize, in the same statement
This may not be unique to the X Prize Foundation, and the organization will consider awarding further such awards in the future," recognize literal as well as figurative moon shots, "said representatives of the X Prize in the same statement.
The 1.5 meter high Beresheet, whose name means" in "The Beginning in Hebrew started on February 21 in SpaceX orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The lander has fired several engines over the past five weeks to bring its orbit closer to the moon. Beresheet remains on track To be captured in Moon orbit on April 4 and landed a week later, members of the mission team said.
SpaceIL's vehicle will collect data on and around the moon. However, the mission's main objectives are to advance Israel's space program and to inspire young people around the world to become more interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The Lander's payload includes an Israeli flag and a "time capsule", which also includes the Israeli flag, a 30 million-page archive on human history and culture. This "Lunar Library" was provided by the Arch Mission Foundation which aims to support the accumulated knowledge of humanity by storing records at various locations outside the Earth.
Mike Wall's book on the Quest for an Extraterrestrial Life, " Out There " (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate ), is now appeared. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall . Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook .