The space race is on: Israel and Iran go head to head with their orbital ambitions
While the world has been watching Iran monkeying around, few have paid attention to Israeli space foundation, SpaceIL.
The nonprofit organization is currently working on making Israel the fourth country to successfully build, launch and land a space capsule onto the moon.
And with plans to make it there by 2015, it looks like the Jewish state could beat Iran to the punch.
Many have been quick to brush off SpaceIL's out of this world ambitions but according to head of commercial marketing, Enon Landenberg, it is no laughing matter.
"SpaceIL is not only not a joke, it will set the agenda for science education and research in Israel in the future,” Landenberg told the Times of Israel on Monday.
Spurred on by political ally, the USA, scientists at SpaceIL dream of raising an Israeli flag next to Neil Armstrong's bootprint.
At a press conference on Monday, SpaceIL Chairman Yanki Margalit, said: “We’ve seen how space exploration has propelled whole economies and countries to reach new, stronger levels of innovation.
“Israel is ripe for a revolution like that, and SpaceIL is going to make it happen.”
The inspiration behind SpaceIL's orbital dreams came from Google contest, LunarX, which, in a bid to jump-start private lunar exploration, promised an award of $30 million to any team that could land an unmanned, robotic craft on the moon.
However, according to Margalit, the project has now moved beyond the parameters of the contest: “It’s become a national mission that will inspire a generation of kids to embrace science and technology.”
With Iran and Israel ready to go head to head, it looks like the world could have a new space race on its hands.
Who will be first to achieve their orbital ambitions? Share your comments with us below!
- Puss in space boots: Iran to launch Persian cat into orbit?
- He's no monkey! Ahmadinejad set to join Iran's space program
- Iran will soon send one of these four lucky animals into outer space
- Iran's space program takes giant leap as monkey lands back on earth
- Iran's secret space program: 'mission monkey' set to go live