Bid to become fourth country to send spacecraft to lunar surface blasts off this week

A team of Israeli scientists is due to launch what will be the first privately funded mission to land on the moon this week, sending a spacecraft to collect data from the lunar surface.

Named Beresheet, the Hebrew word for Genesis, the 585kg (1,290lb) robotic lander will blast off from Florida at 0145 GMT on Friday, propelled by one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets. Once it touches down, in several weeks, it will measure the magnetic field of the moon to help understand how it formed.

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