Historic Israeli moon mission to ferry Holocaust survivor's story to space

Israeli space teams load a time capsule into the Beresheet spacecraft that gives a peek into Israeli life past and present.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
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Leslie Katz
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SpaceIL founders Yariv Bash, right, Yonatan Winetraub, center, and Kfir Damari put a time capsule into the Beresheet spacecraft on Monday.  

Yoav Weiss

If all goes according to plan, a Holocaust survivor's story will land on the moon in 2019. So will Israel's Declaration of Independence, flag and national anthem. 

The national symbols, plus a bible and a bevy of other books, will make their way to our lunar neighbor aboard unmanned Israeli spacecraft Beresheet, which is set to launch from Florida's Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX rocket in coming months. Beresheet, Hebrew for genesis, will be Israel's first spacecraft to the moon.

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This Israeli spacecraft is expected to land on the moon next year.

Eliran Avital

Representatives of Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) placed the time capsule in the space vehicle Monday at an event outside Tel Aviv. The snapshot of a moment in time consists of three discs, each containing hundreds of digital files.

"This is a very emotional moment," Jonathan Winetraub, one of SpaceIL's co-founders said. "We do not know how long the spacecraft and the time capsule will remain on the moon. It is very possible that future generations will find this information and want to learn more about this historic moment."

Beresheet is just about 5 feet (1.5 meters) high and weighs 1,322 pounds (600 kilograms). The Israeli team says it will be the smallest spacecraft to land on the moon. It will launch alongside other satellites as a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9.

The launch date, originally scheduled for this month, was delayed as SpaceIL and IAI await final confirmation from the launch company.

Israel hopes to become the fourth country to land a mission on the the moon when it launches Beresheet. It would join the US, the Soviet Union and China.  

It's not easy to get to the moon, but Beresheet's time capsule is loaded with the traditional Jewish Traveler's Prayer asking for holy help on the journey. 

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