Sunday, April 3, 2011

Israel to be The Third Nation to Reach The Moon?

Israel is a tiny nation with a small population, surrounded by enemies and under constant attack. By all metrics, Israel should be an insignificant country barley worthy of a foot note in most text books. The fact that the country ever existed, let alone still does, is something worthy of being called a miracle. In perhaps the ultimate testament to the resilience and brilliance of a people, culture, and society; it really would not be all that shocking to me if Israel was the third nation to the moon, even considering they are just working on this in their spare time. Reflect on that notion for a moment and ask yourself which side of the Israeli-Arab conflict we should be on.

"If all goes according to plan, by December 2012 a team of three young Israeli scientists will have landed a tiny spacecraft on the moon, explored the lunar surface, and transmitted live video back to earth, thereby scooping up a $20 million prize (the Google Lunar X Prize), revolutionizing space exploration, and making the Jewish State the third nation (after the U.S. and Russia) to land a probe on the moon. And they’re doing it in their spare time.

The three engineers – Yariv Bash (electronics and computers), Kfir Damari (communication systems), and Yonatan Winetraub (satellite systems) all have high-level day jobs in the Israeli science and technology world, and also both teach and study. They all had heard of the Google Lunar X Prize independently, before being introduced by mutual friends who, as Yonatan puts it “thought we were all crazy enough to do it, so we should meet each other.”
Maverick and creative thinkers the Israeli trio appear to be: According to the X Prize organizers, the 29 competing teams will spend between $15 million and $100 million on the project, with the earliest launch not scheduled until 2013. The Israelis aim to spend less than that (around $10 million) and to launch before 2013.

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