Israel’s Moon Selfie Could Be Worth -$99 Million
If Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft successfully lands on the moon next month, the $100 million venture could win a $1 million prize from the X Prize Foundation
Israel’s $100 million moon landing venture could land it a $1 million prize. California-based non-profit the X Prize Foundation announced Thursday that it will hand out a $1 million award to Israeli non-profit SpaceIL if it will safely land its Beresheet spacecraft on the moon, as it is expected to do next month.
Beresheet is a private venture by SpaceIL—founded in 2011 to compete in Google’s 10-year space race competition Lunar X Prize— in partnership with Israeli state-owned defense contractor Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI). The project cost around $100 million according to IAI statements.
Beresheet launch. Photo: SpaceX
The spacecraft is set to land on the moon on April 11 and take photographs of the landing site, including a selfie. Beresheet will measure the moon’s magnetic fields before succumbing to the sun’s heat soon after.
If successful, Beresheet could be the first non-state-owned spacecraft to reach the moon’s surface, making Israel the fourth country to land a vehicle on the moon after the U.S., Russia, and China.