This March 3, 2019 photo shows the Beresheet spacecraft with the Earth in the background. (SPACEIL / ISRAEL AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES / AP)
JERUSALEM — Israel's first spacecraft designed to land on the moon has taken a first selfie on its journey to the moon.
The photo was taken when the lander, dubbed Beresheet, or Genesis in Hebrew, was 37,600 km from Earth, Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL tweeted Tuesday, which has built the unmanned spacecraft together with the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries.
Small country, big dreams
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"Australia can be clearly seen! This photo was taken during a slow spin of the #spacecraft & for the first time see the Israeli flag & text, 'am yisrael chai' (long live the nation of Israel)," SpaceIL tweeted.
The spacecraft was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the US state of Florida on Feb 21, and is expected to reach the lunar surface on April 11.
If successful, Israel will become the fourth country after Russia, the United States and China to make "soft landing" on the moon.
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The 585-kg and 1.5-meter-high spacecraft will eject a robotic vehicle that will tour the surface of moon.
After landing, Beresheet will start carrying out scientific experiments on the lunar surface, including measuring and mapping the moon's magnetic field, the Israeli Science and Technology Ministry said.
Besides its scientific mission, the lander is also carrying a time capsule containing a 30-million page archive of humanity's achievements. Beresheet and the time capsule will remain on the lunar surface indefinitely.
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