Update March 1, 2019: https://www.space.com/israel-moon-lander-beresheet-engine-firing.html – glad to see it bounce back from the earlier glitch.
“After completing examination of the computer resets and implementation of corrective measures, Beresheet conducted a successful maneuver today at 9:30 p.m. Israel time [2:30 p.m. EST, 1930 GMT],” mission team members said in an emailed statement.
I had scheduled a lunar lander post after researching for my Lunar Lander Hancock County Welcome Center – Mississippi Mondays earlier this month. I planned for the post to go live shortly after the lander left Earth’s orbit, but I decided to wait. When I checked on the lander’s progress yesterday, I saw several articles about a problem:
Israeli Lunar Lander Suffers Glitch on Way to the Moon: https://www.space.com/israel-moon-lander-suffers-glitch.html
Computer Reset Cancels Orbital Burn for Israeli Lunar Lander: https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/286572-computer-reset-cancels-orbital-burn-for-israeli-lunar-lander
Beresheet — which means “in the beginning” in Hebrew — is following a gradual eight-week path to the Moon and is expected to land on the Mare Serenitatis (“Sea of Serenity”) on April 11. It was originally developed as an entry into the Google Lunar X Prize, though that competition ended without a winner. Space.com reports that the lander is carrying an Israeli flag, a time capsule, a “lunar library” with the complete contents of Wikipedia, and a laser retroflector experiment for NASA. It also has a magnetometer for measuring the local magnetic field. SpaceIL is a non-profit organization that raised nearly $100M from private donors to cover the costs of the lander and launch, in the hopes of inspiring students to pursue scientific and engineering careers.
The rover is a small machine and only expected to last for ~2 days on the lunar surface. If successful, however, it would make Israel the fourth country to reach the Moon and SpaceIL the first firm to put a private lander there.
Here’s the Wikipedia article about SpaceIL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceIL.