Selfie from 20000 miles away: Israeli Beresheet snaps first shot in space

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An Israeli spacecraft has sent its first selfie back to earth as it makes its way to the moon.

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In the image, a plaque that was installed at the front of the spacecraft is seen, featuring the Israeli flag and the message "Am Yisrael Chai" (lit. long live the nation of Israel).

Ground control activated the spacecraft's main engine for four minutes, putting it into a new orbit that takes it to a distance of 131,000 kilometers from earth.

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The lander is the brainchild of three Israeli engineers running a nonprofit company SpaceIL partnered with Israel Aerospace Industries.

The selfie shows the aircraft with the Earth in the background while it was 37,600 kilometres away. It is expected to land on the moon on April 11, where it will measure the moon's magnetic fields before succumbing to the sun's heat soon after.

It rocketed from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on February 21 and has been circling Earth in ever bigger loops.

NASA, which has installed equipment on Beresheet to upload its signals from the moon, says it is inviting private sector bids to build and launch the USA probes. The photo was made possible due to the process of a slow spin of the spacecraft, before it will be pulled by the gravitational force of the Moon and the landing process is to begin.

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