An Israeli organisation announced plans Tuesday to launch the country’s first spacecraft to the moon in December, with hopes of burnishing Israel’s reputation as a small nation with otherworldly high-tech ambitions.
The unmanned spacecraft, shaped like a pod and weighing some 585 kilogrammes (1,300 pounds) at launch, will land on the moon on February 13, 2019, if all goes according to plan, organisers SpaceIL told journalists.
It will be launched via a rocket from American entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX firm and its mission will include research on the moon’s magnetic field.
Its first task, however, will be to plant an Israeli flag on the moon, organisers said.
The project began as part of the Google Lunar X-Prize, which offered $30 million (25 million euros) in prizes to encourage scientists…
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