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The race back to the moon! Will Israel be the third nation to arrive?

by Lisa Ellen Niver

July 3, 2012 | 6:00 pm

The moon. Photo by Lawrie Cate/Wikipedia/Flickr

I have always wondered who will be the next to land on the moon. My parents remember vividly when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969 and said, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” As a student and now a teacher of science, I hope to inspire the next generation of engineers who will create rockets to take us to the places of our dreams.

It seems that a team from Israel may be the next to touch down next on the moon. (From the website http://www.spaceil.com/)

“Our mission is to become the first to successfully launch, fly and land a small robotic spacecraft on the Moon, operate it across the lunar surface and transmit video, images, and data back to Earth by the end of next year. By doing this Israel will become the third nation on the moon!” Learn more about SpaceIL on their site: http://www.spaceil.com/)

Not only is SpaceIL planning on getting to the moon soon, they will do it in miniature. “SpaceIL’s Spaceship is made to be the smallest possible, making it cost’s less to launch. To build a small spaceship, SpaceIL uses cutting edge nano satellite technologies. Team SpaceIL’s solution utilizes Israel’s unique experience and knowledge in miniaturized satellites, by planning the smallest spacecraft in the world and the first ever nano-spaceship to land on the moon.”

This team consists of a non-profit organization that recently was founded to compete for the Google Lunar X Prize of $30 million dollars and in the global race to explore the moon. The Israeli space enthusiasts will go head-to-head against privately-funded space teams to be the first to launch, fly, and land a robotic spacecraft on the Moon. They hope to carry the Israeli flag to the landing site.

As Daniel Freeman noted in Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfreedman/2011/03/30/israel-the-third-nation-on-the-moon/2/) “The actual robot will be something the size of a Coca-Cola bottle…Think about it – a cell phone has most of the capabilities necessary for communication and imaging, and to that we need to add a hopper to move around the moon.”  If these three scientists are able to create such an inexpensive and innovative approach to lunar exploration, what other issues can we solve if we all work together?

Bringing the world’s attention to Israel’s cutting edge science and technological capacity will ignite and inspire the youth of Israel and other nations to investigate SPACE, the final frontier!

Brainpop, an incredible online educational movie site, has gotten involved in the project with a movie: http://www.spaceil.com/e/brainpop/?lang=iw.  I have often used their movies to introduce new topics in my science classes. I love that science and science fiction are coming together to create new realities.

I hope that scientists, educators, parents, students, teachers, and funders will join together in this and other large-scale projects to share their enthusiasm for science, education, and technology and to show children it is possible to make dreams come true.


Lisa Niver Rajna, M.A. Ed. is an accomplished travel agent, blogger, speaker, science teacher and member of the Traveler’s Century Club, a unique travel club limited to travelers who have visited one hundred or more countries. She and George Rajna spent eleven months in 2008 wandering Southeast Asia from Indonesia to Mongolia where they fell in love, got engaged, and now as a married couple are leaving July 2012 for another year journey in SE Asia. Follow their journey at http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/ or with their newsletter (http://forms.aweber.com/form/58/577760258.htm)

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