If all goes as planned, then on Thursday the Beresheet lander will touchdown in Mare Serenitatis. This will make SpaceIL only the fourth entity to successfully land something on the moon. They will follow in the footsteps of the Soviet Union’s Luna 9 in February 1966, the US’s Surveyor 1 in June 1966, and China’s Chang’e 3 in December 2013. The big difference between this lander and previous ones, is that it is largely privately funded.
I am a huge supporter of lunar exploration – both publically and privately financed – so I figured the best way to mark this occasion is to have a sale of my ebook “The Moon Before Mars: Why returning to the moon makes more sense than rushing off to Mars” where I go into far more depth on why I feel returning to the moon should be our next step in space.
Hopefully, Beresheet is just the beginning of humanity’s return to the moon. India is hoping to become the fifth entity to land on the moon with its Chandrayaan-2, scheduled to launch in May. And then Moon Express – another private company – hopes to launch their Lunar Scout by the end of the year. It is possible more landers will land on the moon this year, then in the past forty years combined.