By Mike Wall
Israel’s first lunar lander has notched another important milestone — its first in-space selfie.
The newly released photo shows the robotic lander, known as Beresheet, looking back at Earth from a distance of 23,363.5 miles (37,600 kilometers).
“In the photo of Earth, taken during a slow spin of the spacecraft, Australia is clearly visible,” mission team members wrote in an image description today (March 5). “Also seen is the plaque installed on the spacecraft, with the Israeli flag and the inscriptions ‘Am Yisrael Chai’ and ‘Small Country, Big Dreams.'”
The Hebrew phrase “Am Yisrael chai” translates as, “The nation of Israel lives,” or, “The people of Israel live.”
Beresheet, a joint project of the nonprofit group SpaceIL and the company Israel Aerospace Industries, launched to Earth orbit atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Feb. 21. The lander has already performed two engine burns, pushing its path closer to the moon.
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