כ״ו באייר ה׳תשע״ד (May 26, 2014)
At a Tel Aviv University laboratory, a team of 20 Israelis is building a spacecraft they believe will make Israel only the fourth country — after the United States, Russia and China — to touch down on the moon.
The project, known as SpaceIL, looks like a long shot. The three-legged hexagonal craft appears too puny for space travel, measuring just 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Of the initiative’s three founders, only one holds an academic degree beyond a bachelor’s. And SpaceIL is competing against 17 other teams to win the $20 million Google Lunar XPrize by being the first private spacecraft to land on the moon. The team hopes to land its craft by the end of next year.
Despite the odds, however, the founders exude the confidence of Nobel Prize-winning scientists — and that’s not all that makes the project Israeli. From its origins to its endgame, SpaceIL is a quintessential story of Israel’s upstart high-tech sector.
Its founders came together with little preparation and no money. They overcame a maze of Israeli bureaucracy to qualify for the contest, attracting funding through personal connections to preeminent scientists. And they say they will win the competition not by being the biggest or richest team, but by redefining how to send a spacecraft to the moon.
“Only superpowers have managed to land on the moon,” co-founder Yariv Bash said. “What China did as a nation of 1.3 billion people, SpaceIL is doing as a nonprofit. It puts things in perspective.” (via JTA)
Two weeks ago SpaceIL launched campaign on Indiegogo to raise $240,000 – one dollar for each mile to the Moon. You can be part of this project.
Read more about campaign here.
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