Israeli space organization SpaceIL spent most of 2018 undergoing final launch simulations and tests for its unmanned lunar craft, Beresheet. The Beresheet was launched from Cape Canaveral in February 2019 with the goal of becoming the first Israeli interplanetary mission to land on the moon, a feat only previously
achieved by the United States, Russia, and China. The $88 million project, which was mostly privately funded, was a culmination of eight years of extensive work by the organization and its partner, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). “It’s about showing the next generation that anything is possible—that even our small country can push the limits of imagination,” explained SpaceIL CEO Ido Anteby. Beresheet was set to conduct a number of scientific experiments and deposit on the moon a time capsule with three discs containing Israel’s Declaration of Independence; the Bible; Israel’s national anthem, “Hatikvah”; information about Israeli scientific and technological discoveries; and a children’s book that was inspired by SpaceIL’s mission to the moon. Ultimately, Beresheet crashed as it made its final descent into the moon’s atmosphere, mere minutes from reaching its destination. Undeterred by the small setback, the day after the devastating crash, SpaceIL said it had already started planning for Beresheet 2.