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Fallen Israeli lander may have seeded Moon with "water bears"



When the Beresheet lunar module crashed on the moon in April, Israel was possibly the first country to successfully colonize an alien body.

According to a Monday report in Wired, the spacecraft had a microarchic the size of an optical disk containing DNA samples, millions of pages of data, and thousands of dehydrated tardigrades – microscopically small animals popularly known as water bears.

The archive was an idea of ​​the Arch Mission Foundation of the American venture capitalist Nova Spivack, whose task it is to create a so-called "backup of the planet Earth". The last-minute tardigrades are incredibly robust creatures known to survive dehydrated for years. They are found all over the world and have even survived the vacuum of space.

Beresheet plunged into the lunar surface when he tried to land there earlier this year, spoiling the hopes of hundreds of engineers who had worked on the project for years.

The Beresheet Selfie During Landing, April 11, 2019. (YouTube screenshot)

The spaceship successfully launched its landing sequence, but a few miles above the lunar surface, the main engine failed and the ship could not brake in time to cushion his landing.

"In the first 24 hours we were just in shock," Spivack told Wired. "We expected it to be successful. We knew there were risks, but we did not think the risks were that significant.

However, he believes that the archive is likely to have partially or fully survived the crash, and that the tardigrades may be awakened from their dormancy

The spacecraft was estimated at $ 100 million (NIS 370 million) , a fraction of the cost of vehicles that were brought to the moon in the past by the great powers USA, Russia and China. It was a joint venture between private company SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries, which was funded almost entirely by private donations from well-known Jewish philanthropists, including South African billionaire Morris Kahn, Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, Lynn Schusterman and others.

In 2017 In the science-fiction television program Star Trek: Discovery, an action revolved around a giant tardigrade used for space navigation. So far it is not clear whether future Israeli missions will be occupied by Tardigrades.

The times of Israeli employees and agencies have contributed to this report.


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