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$1 million prize awaits Israeli team if Moon landing works

The XPrize Foundation announced Thursday it’s offering the hefty prize for a successful lunar landing.

SpaceIL, the Israeli nonprofit behind Beresheet, made the final cut in the $20 million Google Lunar XPrize competition, which ended last year without a winner. The new award was inspired by SpaceIL’s perseverance.

It is currently on the last loop around the Earth, which will take until April 4.  Aside from a few small glitches with an unexpected system reset and some problems with the star-tracking navigation system, the spacecraft is on schedule to make the landing.

If Beresheet successfully lands, the spacecraft is expected to carry out two or three days of experiments collecting data about the moon’s magnetic fields before shutting down.

The distance between Earth and the moon is approximately 384,000 kilometers (240,000 miles). Beresheet’s elliptical route, which saves on fuel needs by harnessing the gravitational pull of the Earth, will cover about 6.5 million kilometers (4 million miles).

XPRIZE designs and operates global competitions to incentivize the development of technological breakthroughs that accelerate humanity toward a better future. Active competitions include the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, and the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE. For more information, visit www.xprize.org.