Israel’s first spacecraft, Beresheet, has sent its first selfie with Earth looming in the background. SpaceIL shared the incredible image on Twitter, which was captured from more than 20,000 miles away from Earth. The spacecraft is on its two-month journey to moon, and was launched from Cape Canaveral on February 22 on atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The spacecraft’s trip is scheduled to last seven weeks, and it is likely to arrive at its destination on April 11. Its name, Beresheet, is in Hebrew for Genesis, (or In the Beginning). “At a distance of 37,000 km from Earth, #Beresheet’s selfie camera took a picture of #Earth,” SpaceIL tweeted on Tuesday.
At a distance of 37,600 km from Earth, #Beresheet’s selfie camera took a picture of #Earth. 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.” #IsraelToTheMoon #SpaceIL pic.twitter.com/ELFZsaShXg
— Israel To The Moon (@TeamSpaceIL) March 5, 2019
The photo was taken during a slow spin and Australia can be clearly seen in it. And for the first time, the Israeli flag with text “am yisrael chai” can be seen, which translates to ‘long live the nation of Israel, The Jerusalem Post reports.
The Israeli mission comes after renewed interest in the moon, 50 years after American astronauts first walked on its surface. So far, only three nations have made the 384,000-kilometre (239,000-mile) journey, and have successfully landed on moon. These nations include the United States, China and Russia.
As for Israel, landing the spacecraft is the main mission, but it is also carrying some scientific instruments to measure the lunar magnetic field. The instruments are expected to help them understand moon’s formation. The spacecraft is also carrying digital files containing a Bible, memories of Holocaust survivor, children’s drawings, and Israeli songs.