Israel’s lunar lander Beresheet just snapped an impressive selfie — with a distant planet Earth looming in the background.
SpaceIL, the private Israeli space company that launched the lander last week, revealed the photo on Twitter this morning. The picture was taken 23,363 miles (37,600 km) from Earth.
At a distance of 37,600 km from Earth, #Beresheet’s selfie camera took a picture of #Earth. Australia can be clearly seen! This photo was taken during a slow spin of the #spacecraft & for the first time see the #Israeli flag 🇮🇱 & text, “am yisrael chai.” #IsraelToTheMoon #SpaceIL pic.twitter.com/ELFZsaShXg
— Israel To The Moon (@TeamSpaceIL) March 5, 2019
Beresheet launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Feb. 21 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, marking the first time a private lunar spacecraft has ever launched from Earth.
Currently Beresheet is slowly orbiting the Earth, making small adjustments to its trajectory to push it farther towards the Moon’s gravitational pull.
A serious glitch concerning the lander’s sensitive “star tracker” navigation system discovered last week had the SpaceIL team worried, but the spacecraft’s main engines activated as expected days later. A subsequent unexpected computer reset was also found to be caused by cosmic radiation.