Israel's Beresheet lunar lander captures a stunning sunrise from space

Sunrise from space
Image credit: SpaceIL
(Image credit: SpaceIL)

Israel's Beresheet lunar lander, which launched in February aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, has sent back stunning video footage showing the sun emerging from behind the Earth. 

This video is a reassuring sign that Beresheet is operating normally. Soon after launch, the craft's team found that its star-trackers (which are essential for navigation) are easily dazzled by the sun's rays.

The craft also suffered a glitch on February 25, when its onboard computer reset unexpectedly, causing it to miss a planned engine firing. However, the mission team managed to solve the problem and carried out the firing successfully three days later. 

According to plan

This is the first privately-funded mission to the moon, and Beresheet is the first Israeli lunar spacecraft. If successful, it will make Israel the fourth nation to land on the moon, following the US, China and Russia.

Beresheet is due to touch down in the Sea of Serenity on April 11 – an area that hasn't been visited since NASA's Apollo 11 mission in 1972. While there, it will take photos and measure the magnetic field above the landing site in an attempt to solve the mystery of why the moon's magnetic field appears to vary there.

Learn more about the mission and see the spacecraft's route.

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