Israeli Science Missions
LIMSAT is a scientific satellite that performs wide-field scans of space using ultraviolet radiation. This mission brings together academia, industry, and government, who are acting together through the Weizmann Institute of Science, the Israeli Aerospace Industry, Elbit Electro-Optics, NASA and Caltech. LIMSAT is a low mass (100kg) low cost mission. Its object is early detection of supernova phenomena (the explosion of a star in the final stages of its development) and it will be used to guide land-based sensors using an on-board wide-view UV camera. The novel approach applied in developing this satellite is led by an international consortium of scientists. The research has made it possible to optimize use of ground-based observation stations, from space. This project relies on the knowledge and conclusions collected by the TAUVEX project, and is the first wide-view survey of its kind in UV.
Expected scientific benefits of this mission:
- Real-time observations of exploding stars – a new understanding of how stars explode and why
- Discover and understand the processes that shape planets
- Using UV, measure the rate of powerful solar storms that may affect the habitability of distant planets
- Discover never-before observed phenomena – neutron star mergers, stars falling into a black hole
- Identify gravitational-wave radiation using new and novel detectors
- Potential for unexpected discoveries
The Israeli Space Agency is sponsoring the first Israeli effort to land a spacecraft on the moon. Space IL is an NGO set up by a multidisciplinary team of Israeli scientists and space aficionados. The organization was established in order to compete in the international Google Lunar X Prize competition. The Space IL team is developing a robotic spacecraft built as a micro-satellite weighing 100kg and bearing the Israeli flag; it is designed to be launched and then land on the moon. To win the competition the team must be the first to launch, fly, and land a spacecraft on the moon, and then transmit live video or photos in real time. The competition prize-money amounts to US $30 million, which the organization intends to donate toward space education. The Israeli team numbers more the 100 members, many of whom are Israeli space researchers; prominent scientists in the field are also involved with the team.
The team's goal in competing is to expand the Israeli scientific and technological fields and jump-start Israeli start-ups by joining a project that can potentially spark the imagination of the younger generation in the country. Success will place Israel in the third place among countries that have had a moon-landing, and will establish the State of Israel's position as an entrepreneurial technology leader. If the team succeeds in its mission, the first Israeli spacecraft will be the smallest one to have landed on the moon. The Space IL team views promoting science and technology in Israel as a national priority; they hope to inspire Israelis, particularly youth who will subsequently express interest and willingness to delve deeper into space research.
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