Passengers travelling to and from Ben Gurion Airport today may have been surprised to see a unique, interstellar Israeli aircraft listed on its arrivals board.
Israel’s planned moon landing, scheduled for 10pm, sits between incoming flights from Istanbul and Madrid on the Israel Airports Authority’s arrival timetable.
“On the flight announcement board in Ben Gurion Airport #Israel, a rather special flight has appeared,” the Zionist Federation tweeted, “The flight of the #Israeli spacecraft to the moon, landing on the moon tonight!!”
The first privately-funded lunar mission will try to land on the Moon later today, with the Israeli spacecraft expected to attempt a soft touch down after 10pm, before taking pictures.
On the flight announcement board in Ben Gurion Airport #Israel, a rather special flight has appeared… the flight of the #Israeli spacecraft to the moon, landing on the moon tonight!!@TeamSpaceIL pic.twitter.com/t4HG9K2qNz
— Zionist Federation (@ZionistFed) April 11, 2019
It is expected to land in the Sea of Serenity, on the northern hemisphere of the moon’s near side, and if successful will measure the magnetic field at the landing site, and send back data and pictures.
A time capsule is also on board the lander – which includes a picture of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who died on the space shuttle Columbia in 2003 – as well as a lunar library containing 30 million pages on a disk from the US-based Arch Mission Foundation.
Mr Ramon’s widow, Rona, who was a big supporter of Beresheet, died of cancer in December.
The landing process for Beresheet is expected to begin just after 8pm on Thursday night.