The Genesis Israeli spaceship faces the first of the great challenges of its lunar mission: "capture the moon", or exit from Earth's orbit to enter the moon.
If this maneuver succeeds, a spacecraft, once captured by the gravitational pull of the Moon, will begin to turn into a natural satellite of the Earth and gradually approach it in order to carry out the planned landing of the month exactly one week.
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If future events are scheduled, Genesis will make the history of space and become the first private ship to complete a difficult mission. The very low cost of the project, compared with the other mission of the Moon, for $ 100 million, is also an important milestone in the new era of human interplanetary travel that is expected to grow and monetize as a result of the success of this mission.
Ehran Schmidt, deputy project director and head of ground systems for SpaceIL, said that the spacecraft had so far rotated on the ground in an expanding elliptical track, with maneuvers aimed at speeding up and moving further away from the ground.
At around 5:15 am, the Israeli space ship is planned to be 400,000 kilometers from the planet and close to the Moon. Then the engines will be operated to slow it down from 8,500 kilometers an hour to 7,500. The maneuver will be performed autonomously through a series of instructions to the spacecraft computer. The slowing will allow him to fall into the gravitational attraction of the moon, and then rotate along the satellite elliptically, pulling about 500 kilometers from the surface of the moon.
If the maneuver fails, this will be another opportunity an hour or a little later, says Schmidt, adding that if the second attempt fails, the spacecraft slipped out of the gravity gravity of the Earth and the Moon and will return to another orbit around. sun. This would lead to the failure of the mission. If this is successful, then the spacecraft will move at a distance of 200 kilometers from the moon, rotating it for 14 hours, each orbit takes. Then an additional planned maneuver would bring the spacecraft to a height of 15 kilometers above the Moon, where he would receive a series of instructions that lead to autonomous landing with their engines. After the vehicle reaches a distance of four to a few meters from the surface of the Moon, the engines would turn off the airplane to drop to the ground. Experts hope that a special chassis with a spacecraft will allow her to survive falling.
The engineer described three great maneuvers of the mission as launch, capture of the moon and autonomous landing. Unfortunately, the success of one call does not mean that others will succeed. Schmidt says there are two additional landing places. The plan is to land at dawn, since the daytime temperatures on the moon are very high. After that, the spacecraft will function for 72 hours before it becomes too hot.
Genesis, built by SpaceIL with the help of XPRIZE and LunarX from Google, began as competitors in 2007, which gave various entrepreneurs the task of building a spacecraft that could land on the Moon, drive about 500 meters and send a video that she can capture. The contest ended without winners, but all contestants continue their efforts to create a spacecraft that can reach the moon. In the next two years, entrepreneurs from other projects are hoping to join Genesis, as well as landing planes for the moon.
Last year, the US Space Agency reported that nine American or American-owned companies could compete for LunarX tenders to fly from NASA to the Moon. Last month, NASA revealed a dozen tenders that it wants to bring to the Moon with a budget of $ 2.6 billion over the course of 10 years.
Some private interests in the study of the moon are relevant to the development of technologies for the use of mineral wealth of the satellite. It's too early to say if the dream of using the Moon's resources to work in the foreseeable future, but many people view the satellite as a new "wild west" and are looking for the ways they are pursuing. Isotopes of gold, silver, titanium and helium3 required for nuclear fusion can be found on the Moon and in adjacent asteroids. But the main economic value of the Moon seems not only limited to rare minerals, but also material that is abundant on earth: water.
The price of fuel – one of the most expensive aspects of space travel. Necessary huge amounts to release Earth's orbit. About 85% of the weight Saturn5 used to launch American astronauts on the moon consisted of fuel. The same applies to rocket fuel to this day. As a comparison, the fuel is only 4% of the weight of the average car. Therefore, if you plan to plan long journeys in outer space, the spacecraft must carry enough fuel for the entire mission or find a way to refuel on the way. The moon could provide a place for such a refueling center. Frozen water at its poles can be broken and used as a rocket fuel. Therefore, one who succeeds in asserting water on the pillars of the moon will win a significant advantage in the race to conquer the solar system.
In addition to history and entrepreneurial achievements, success in capturing the moon will also lead to the scientific missions of Genesis: to decipher the magnetic secrets of moon breeds. The study, conducted in collaboration with the Weizmann Institute, will use a magnetometer placed on a spacecraft to understand how the moon received its magnetism. Prof. Oded Aharonson of the Earth Sciences Division, who leads the project, said that the Moon has no magnetic fields. But studies have found that some lunar breeds have magnetic qualities, and the research aims to try to figure out how they acquired this ability: whether this occurred as a result of an internal process that occurred at an earlier phase of the moon's life or through an external factor , such as landing an asteroid.
The Earth's magnetic field was created as a result of the circular movement of its metal and liquid nucleus. But as scientists know that the moon is much smaller and colder than the earth, its core is frozen. Therefore, it is believed that the Moon does not have its own magnetic field. The purpose of the study is to learn about the history of the moon through the magnetism of its breeds, as well as to find out if there was a magnetic field in the past. While the spacecraft rotates around the moon in smaller and small circles, in front of the ground, the magnetometer will measure the magnetism of the rocks in different regions to see if there is a system to the age and nature of the magnetic breeds that could tell us about their physical attributes .