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Israeli Group To Attempt Moon Landing

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the fly-me-to-the-moon dept.

Moon 150

cold fjord writes: "NDTV reports, 'Israel plans to do what only the world's biggest countries have so far managed to do: land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon ... only Russia, the U.S. and China have soft landed on the moon, and India hard landed its tri-colour using the moon impact probe in 2008 ... The washing machine-sized spacecraft that weighs 121 kilograms is being readied by a not-for-profit venture called SpaceIL. ... The Israeli lunar probe had its genesis after the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize was announced as a competition which challenged non-state-owned space agencies to land on the moon, send back photos, and move 500 meters on the surface of the moon. About two dozen global teams are racing to win the prize- SpaceIL reckons it's in pole position. ... ex-NASA engineer Yonatan Winetraub and two of his friends conceived of the spacecraft in 2010 ... then used a Facebook page to promote the dream. Today, the dream has matured into a $36 million mission with 20 full time employees and 250 volunteers. ... Around 40,000 school students have been associated with this project.' Further details are available here."

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150 comments

One word (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46124565)

Haha!

Re:One word (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46124799)

Jews.

They'll just buy someone who can do this.

Actually, they'll just buy someone who'll SAY that they did it, and they were the originals, doing it 2,500 years before anybody else was there.

Re:One word (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46125085)

You mean the USA?

and where do they get this money? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46124571)

The U.S.

Re:and where do they get this money? (1)

Camel Pilot (78781) | about 2 months ago | (#46124615)

Maybe from the US citizens not the the US gov't. Only 10% of funds can come from a government source to eligible for the Lunar X prize.

Re:and where do they get this money? (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 months ago | (#46124677)

Maybe from the US citizens not the the US gov't. Only 10% of funds can come from a government source to eligible for the Lunar X prize.

One thing about Israel, they've a long track record of finding dirt cheap ways to do things the US government/military or such like to shovel billions of dollars at.

Re:and where do they get this money? (0)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#46125361)

One thing about Israel, they've a long track record of finding dirt cheap ways to do things the US government/military or such like to shovel billions of dollars at.

But still not as cheap as private organizations. I did some free consulting for a group of people in San Jose that are competing for the Lunar X Prize. Their lander weighs 1kg, and is about the size and dimensions of a quart (liter) carton of milk.

Re:and where do they get this money? (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 2 months ago | (#46125443)

As far as I see SpaceIL is a private group.

Do you think that other groups lander will be able to make the 500m trip?

Re:and where do they get this money? (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#46125707)

Do you think that other groups lander will be able to make the 500m trip?

Their plan is to land in one of the "seas" that are relatively smooth. The wheels have a diameter bigger than the body, so the robot can move as easily when inverted as when right side up. It has gone more than 500m when tested in the Mojave Desert, and that is with six times lunar gravity, and half the sunlight intensity. The last time I spoke to them, their biggest concern was not meeting the requirements, but that someone else would beat them to it.

Re:and where do they get this money? (0, Troll)

litehacksaur111 (2895607) | about 2 months ago | (#46125513)

Israel's defense is entirely paid for by the US, We still give them 10 billion a year in financial aid.

Re:and where do they get this money? (1, Troll)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 2 months ago | (#46124863)

Israel gets a good chunk of direct aid from the US (Classified as military aid, so the pro-Israeli Republicans can cut foreign aid to zero without touching Israel) and indirect aid (the semi-implicit security guaranty).

The point being without this aid, Israel may not have enough free resources to do something like this. Or maybe it is to remind everybody that the nuclear tipped missiles.

Re:and where do they get this money? (1)

DaHat (247651) | about 2 months ago | (#46124947)

Or maybe it is to remind everybody that the nuclear tipped missiles.

Seems rather overkill as the class of rocket (and associated tech) required to land on the moon is far more than what it would take launch any sort of weapon tipped missile launched from Israeli territory... assuming likely targets... unless you are suspecting they are planning on bombing the British or Madagascar. ...and this aside from the Israeli use of retrograde orbits (and the greater fuel costs) for their space program.

Re: and where do they get this money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46125301)

I don't see why they'd bomb the British, our current government is friendly to Israel and there's quite a big Jewish community (though nothing compared to New York).

Israel going to the moon though, they should spend the money learning to cover up their secret service operations properly first

Re:and where do they get this money? (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 2 months ago | (#46125457)

The point being without this aid, Israel may not have enough free resources to do something like this.

It's not a government effort, and the $36 million cost isn't even as much as some of the fighter planes they fly, which comes out of their tax dollars. Obviously there is enough resources for it. It is a relative pittance.

Or maybe it is to remind everybody that the nuclear tipped missiles.

Do you really think that any of Israel's enemies is going to forget their armed forces and arms?

Re:and where do they get this money? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46124731)

You will pay and you will like it. Get back to work goy.

Re:and where do they get this money? (2)

fche (36607) | about 2 months ago | (#46124999)

Such money questions are improper, since they declared themselves non-profit - isn't that inoculation enough? (One wonders how one might plan to turn a profit on a one-way robot ship trip. Sponsorship stickers?)

Re:and where do they get this money? (0, Troll)

murdocj (543661) | about 2 months ago | (#46125083)

Congratulations. I was wondering where the first anti-Israel comment would come in. Nice job.

Re:and where do they get this money? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46125183)

Congratulations. I was wondering where the first anti-Israel comment would come in. Nice job.

That's not anti-Israel. It's a fact that Israel gets a lot of funding from the U.S., rightly or wrongly. It would only feel anti-Israel if you were ashamed of the fact.

Re:and where do they get this money? (3, Insightful)

murdocj (543661) | about 2 months ago | (#46126045)

It's anti-Israel in that the story about a private group putting together a moon mission instantly morphs into "those Jews are using our money".

Re:and where do they get this money? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46125745)

http://www.ifamericansknew.org/stats/pay.html

Say the Muslims got there first... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46124597)

Someone convince them the Muslims got there first, and are living in craters... then we'll get loads of colonists on the moon in no time.

Re:Say the Muslims got there first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46125595)

That was pretty funny. First comment in a long while that made me laugh out loud.

Here come the rednecks (-1, Troll)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 2 months ago | (#46124607)

Stand by for a bombardment of "Haha look at those cute non-Americans trying to land on the moon" wankers in 5-4-3-2-1...

Re:Here come the rednecks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46124753)

You butthurt because we're #1? Quit whining you little euro-weenie.

Re:Here come the rednecks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46124821)

Except Russia got there first, with Luna 9.

Re:Here come the rednecks (2, Informative)

femtobyte (710429) | about 2 months ago | (#46124937)

Yeah, but that's only one tiny part of the space race --- America's the clear leader if you look at the big milestones, instead of just cherry-picking one isolated mission. Like, first satellite in orbit [wikipedia.org] --- oops, ignore that. How about first human in space [wikipedia.org] --- aww, shit; well they aren't really in space unless they can do the first spacewalk [wikipedia.org] --- dang. Well, the free and equal US at least got the first woman in space [wikipedia.org]... fooey. Well, near-earth is easy stuff anyway; how about first to reach another planet [wikipedia.org]? Darn, but first to touch another planet [wikipedia.org]... well, first to soft-land on another planet [wikipedia.org]... shit. OK, first sample-return from outside earth [wikipedia.org]... err, let's focus on what's really important in the space race...

USA Number One! USA! USA! USA!

Re:Here come the rednecks (1)

murdocj (543661) | about 2 months ago | (#46125097)

Your point is?

Re:Here come the rednecks (2)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 2 months ago | (#46125275)

His point is that this "We're #1" hubris is a bit misplaced when it was the Russians that got just about every single first in the space race. Year the moon landing was slick and the joyride on the surface in a rover with a driver's seat was kinda cool, but don't go around saying America was first in everything.

This complacency is going to be America's undoing, and the standard racist /. reaction to every non-American space venture is just a symptom of it.

Re:Here come the rednecks (2)

sexconker (1179573) | about 2 months ago | (#46125189)

Yeah, but that's only one tiny part of the space race --- America's the clear leader if you look at the big milestones, instead of just cherry-picking one isolated mission. Like, first satellite in orbit [wikipedia.org] --- oops, ignore that. How about first human in space [wikipedia.org] --- aww, shit; well they aren't really in space unless they can do the first spacewalk [wikipedia.org] --- dang. Well, the free and equal US at least got the first woman in space [wikipedia.org]... fooey. Well, near-earth is easy stuff anyway; how about first to reach another planet [wikipedia.org]? Darn, but first to touch another planet [wikipedia.org]... well, first to soft-land on another planet [wikipedia.org]... shit. OK, first sample-return from outside earth [wikipedia.org]... err, let's focus on what's really important in the space race...

USA Number One! USA! USA! USA!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... [wikipedia.org]
GGWP rest of the world.

Re:Here come the rednecks (4, Insightful)

djh2400 (1362925) | about 2 months ago | (#46124879)

Personally, I find it somewhat sad that individual groups of people are all trying to accomplish the same thing or things which have been accomplished by humanity previously. What I'm saying is that I wish, rather, that the entire world would unite efforts in furthering human space-exploration technologies instead of countries keeping these "secrets" to themselves and ultimately slowing everything down from what they could be if we had one major, united world effort.

I suppose a lot of that behavior originates from from exactly what you point out in your post — though I do not understand said behavior.

Re:Here come the rednecks (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 months ago | (#46125003)

When we all "cooperate", there's little incentive to actually finish things. Competition works better because then your progress isn't just based on some ambiguous feelgood metric, but also the concrete things that everyone else is doing.

Re:Here come the rednecks (4, Interesting)

paskie (539112) | about 2 months ago | (#46125299)

Individual groups of people all trying to accomplish the same thing or things is absolutely essential to get stuff done. It motivates people to focus and work hard on the problem, because they know that others are working hard too and they will likely reach similar quality and are progressing fast. The competition between people means competition between solutions, which allows the soundest solutions to prevail (up to exceptions).

Competition can be friendly, especially if you are not too emotionally invested, and that's great especially for the people involved. Unfriendly competition is still great in the long run even though it introduces redundancies. The space race gave a big surge to the technological progress. Sport competitions give many athletes (or chess players or whoever) an incentive to improve. Computer Go programs evolved rapidly recently also thanks to competition. Recent Debian discussions about their next init system gave massive boost to openrc development.

Without competition, people are lazy and slack, since any effort is not worth it! Competition is awesome!

How long until (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46124625)

moon colonies?

Re:How long until (5, Funny)

mwehle (2491950) | about 2 months ago | (#46124751)

moon colonies?

That would be moon "settlements" - Israel doesn't colonize, citizen.

What people are forgetting... (2, Insightful)

Kuroji (990107) | about 2 months ago | (#46124655)

Going to the moon isn't merely a curiosity or a scientific achievement. It's a statement to the world that you were able to accurately land a payload on a target more than 350,000 km away. If you can do that with a rocket that leaves near-Earth orbit, it means you can do it with one that does not leave Earth orbit.

In other words, moon landings are how you tell the world you have ICBMs (or at least the ability to make them) without the public throwing a fit about it.

Re:What people are forgetting... (3, Insightful)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about 2 months ago | (#46124701)

Putting a satellite into a predetermined orbit proves the same thing, without the added expense of going all the way to the moon...

Re:What people are forgetting... (3, Informative)

khallow (566160) | about 2 months ago | (#46124769)

Exactly. This accuracy greatly exceeds any ICBM need. And Israel has already put things in orbit with six successful launches [wikipedia.org] so far so any need for that bit of posturing has been satisfied.

Re:What people are forgetting... (1)

DaHat (247651) | about 2 months ago | (#46124867)

By that logic... there is little difference between Sputnik & Apollo 11.

Both were based largely on the same principals & sciences... only while the latter was not only a lot more expensive & complicated, also stands as greater proof of ones technological abilities.

Re:What people are forgetting... (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about 2 months ago | (#46124985)

By that logic... there is little difference between Sputnik & Apollo 11.

As far as demonstrating a capacity for deploying an ICBM (which is what is being considered here), there wasn't any.

Once you can put a booster into a predetermined orbit, and release a payload at a precise point, you essentially have the ability to deliver a warhead to any point on the planet.

The additional technologies involved in deep space travel/navigation, long term thermal and power management, astronaut life support, or the ability to soft-land on the moon and lift off again are irrelevant to lobbing a nuke at another point on the Earth.

Re:What people are forgetting... (4, Insightful)

cusco (717999) | about 2 months ago | (#46124849)

Really? This garbage again? India launches a probe to Mars and the Luddites scream "IT'S AN ICBM!!" Now Israel. Utter stupidity. Do you think that generals in Israel and India do not talk to their counterparts in Pakistan and Iran? Is this actually a surprise to anyone who has been paying any attention AT ALL to the advancement of aerospace science over the last half a century? Targeting systems aren't even considered high-tech any more, you could program an Arduino board and a GPS receiver to do it.

Here's a headline for you: SpaceX and Virgin Galactic Can Produce ICBMs! Run And Hide!

Frelling idiots.

Re:What people are forgetting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46124887)

It's mostly about popularity polls and the next election. When a country makes a big achievement like win lots of gold medals at the olympics or land on the moon, people feel good about themselves. When people feel good they tend to forgive more easily and feel good about their leaders. When they feel good about their leaders, they re-elect them.

Re:What people are forgetting... (3, Insightful)

murdocj (543661) | about 2 months ago | (#46125107)

Or maybe, just maybe, it's a scientific accomplishment that a technologically advanced nation would like to achieve. They don't have to land on the moon to remind the other nations in the Middle East that this probably isn't the best time to start another pogrom.

Why are they doing it? (0)

Etherwalk (681268) | about 2 months ago | (#46125279)

Or maybe, just maybe, it's a scientific accomplishment that a technologically advanced nation would like to achieve. They don't have to land on the moon to remind the other nations in the Middle East that this probably isn't the best time to start another pogrom.

They don't have to, but it's a very clear message, from a sometimes-aggressive and presumed nuclear nation.

There are basically three reasons to do it. (1) It's fucking cool. (2) It's a message to their enemies that they are capable of building ICBMs and putting their nukes anywhere on the planet. (3) It will be useful in domestic political campaigns.

Reason (1) is the best one, but it is exceptionally rare for countries to fund things for reason (1). (2) and/or (3) are FAR more likely.

Re:What people are forgetting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46125407)

Israel launched a satellite years ago, and it is already well-known that they can hit any of their nearby enemies. There can be no motive to demonstrate a capability if that capability is already well known.

I do not believe your interpretation of this planned mission is correct.

well... (3, Funny)

__Paul__ (1570) | about 2 months ago | (#46124659)

Maybe ... the ... author ... should ... try ... writing ... an ... article ... in ... full ... sentences

Relocating the Palestinians .. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46124661)

Are they planning to relocate the Palestinians to the moon?

Re:Relocating the Palestinians .. (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 2 months ago | (#46125265)

The comment right above, about relocating Palestinians to the moon was modded funny.
The comment right below, about relocating Israeli settlers to the moon was modded troll.

Can we meta-mod the mods?

Re:Relocating the Palestinians .. (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | about 2 months ago | (#46125399)

The comment right above, about relocating Palestinians to the moon was modded funny. The comment right below, about relocating Israeli settlers to the moon was modded troll.

Can we meta-mod the mods?

Maybe we need a funny troll mod that equates to zero karma.

Possibly a Good idea (0, Troll)

rueger (210566) | about 2 months ago | (#46124693)

If they can send all of the "settlers" there, instead of into Palestine.

(Why am I imagine a mash up between Gil Scott Heron [youtu.be] and Mel Brooks?

Better Idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46124745)

Since the Palestinians just want to throw rockets and suicide bombers into peaceful Israeli cities, how about we place the decidedly uncivilized Palestinian population on the moon, removed from humanity where they belong?

Re:Better Idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46124825)

How uncivilized! Lobbing rockets at the people living in the houses you built, and then were forced out of by guns and tanks. Clearly, being evicted from your ancestral homes by force (in violation of international law) is nothing to get angry about. No decent human would be outraged at having their country occupied by foreigners who regularly imprison and torture dissidents, while blockading normal international trade, resulting in frequent severe lack of access to basic food and medicine.

Re:Better Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46124975)

You're missing some history.

Time Now for a Declaration of Mideast Peace; Doomed Arab Refugees [nytimes.com]

In ''Semites and Anti-Semites'' (New York, 1986), Bernard W. Lewis quotes (page 270) from the memoirs of Khalid al-Azm, Prime Minister of Syria in 1948-49, listing the factors that led to Israel's success:

.... the summons of the Arab governments to the population of Palestine to leave the country and take refuge in the neighboring Arab countries . . . this collective flight served the Jews and strengthened their position without effort. . . . Since 1948 we have been demanding the return of the refugees to their homes when we ourselves were the ones who induced them to leave them. . . . We doomed a million Arab refugees, by calling on them and insisting that they abandon their land, their homes, their work and their occupations, and we made them unemployed and homeless.''

Re:Better Idea (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about 2 months ago | (#46125023)

You're also missing some history [wikipedia.org] --- you do realize that the 1949 borders are not generally the territory under dispute? That Israel has done a few things since then with regard to stealing territory and imposing perpetual occupations?

Re:Better Idea (1)

murdocj (543661) | about 2 months ago | (#46125131)

Sadly, the Palestinians had a chance to negotiate a peace that would have recovered territory when Labor was in power, but Arafat found it much more comfortable to be a leader in exile than to take a chance on peace. As Abba Eban said, "the Palestinians never miss a chance to miss a chance".

Re:Better Idea (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 months ago | (#46125719)

It's not Israel "stealing" territory and imposing perpetual occupation. It's the unwillingess of the so-called allies of the Palestinians to actually end the various wars they have started.

Egypt got it's territory back as soon as they made peace with Israel.

Re:Better Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46125249)

Or conversely why dont we send all the rabid Zionist land grabbers to build those cities on the moon.
I have nothing against Jewish people but I oppose Zionism.

Re:Better Idea (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46125413)

Hmmm [nytimes.com]

dQo7l (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46124777)

UnitEd States of iirecoverable

I don't mean to belittle the will to do so... (0)

trims (10010) | about 2 months ago | (#46124779)

But this has long since ceased to be any sort of technical challenge or accomplishment.

Putting a lander on the moon (or, even, for that matter, a human) is not much of a technical challenge, insofar as needing to do anything other than learn how to properly use complex (but well-known) technology.

There's a whole raft of small aerospace companies (of which SpaceX is merely the best known) with funding in the low millions than can produces a lunar lander for you within 6 months of a go-ahead. And building a sufficiently large rocket to put 100kg on the moon for a 1-way trip is merely a matter of money, not even advanced tech these days.

The bigger obstacle is political will, and being able to divert the few tens of millions it costs from being cannibalized by special interests.

If the Israelis do it, good for them. But it's not really advancing the state-of-the-art in any way, nor is it much more than a publicity stunt.

Re:I don't mean to belittle the will to do so... (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#46124949)

But this has long since ceased to be any sort of technical challenge or accomplishment.

Really? How many things have *YOU* soft-landed on the moon?

Re:I don't mean to belittle the will to do so... (2)

murdocj (543661) | about 2 months ago | (#46125137)

Wish I had some mod points to rate you up... that was the first thing I wondered. I mean, landing on the moon is SO easy, anybody can stick a firecracker on a tin can and do it.

Flying to the moon might turn out to be easier... (5, Insightful)

ffkom (3519199) | about 2 months ago | (#46124797)

... than making peace with your neighbours. ;-)

Re:Flying to the moon might turn out to be easier. (1, Interesting)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 2 months ago | (#46125021)

Especially when you consider that most of your neighbors (if not all) belong to a religion that forbids them from making peace with anybody who doesn't share their religion. At best, you can get a long-term truce, but never peace. Who knows? Maybe flying to the Moon will help persuade the more reasonable factions in the Middle East that a very, very long-term truce with Israel is a Good Idea.

Re:Flying to the moon might turn out to be easier. (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | about 2 months ago | (#46125683)

Especially when you consider that most of your neighbors (if not all) belong to a religion that forbids them from making peace with anybody who doesn't share their religion.

Which religion were you referring to?

Re:Flying to the moon might turn out to be easier. (0)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 months ago | (#46125735)

> Which religion were you referring to?

The one that advocates global jihad and a caliphate.

It's like the Tea Party but with different hats.

what about Iran? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46124841)

I wonder how America would feel if Iran tried to land a similar probe on the moon instead?

Oh no... (0)

psinet (1665115) | about 2 months ago | (#46125073)

This is just the beginning. Moon Alliyah and settlements to come, replete with extremely loud, religious 19th century gun-toting god-botherers claiming God said the moon was theirs.

"Israel Plans".... huh? (5, Insightful)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 2 months ago | (#46125159)

The article starts off with "Israel Plans", except it's not Israel, it's an organization inside Israel? I had a salad for lunch. "America has salad for lunch! Later plans to visit restroom!"

Re:"Israel Plans".... huh? (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 2 months ago | (#46125379)

mod parent up because there is a HUGE difference between a small group and a state doing this.

The washing machine-sized spacecraft that weighs 121 kilograms is being readied by a not-for-profit venture called SpaceIL which operates out of a small non-descript office donated to it by Tel Aviv University.

wait a minute.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46125293)

They're going to (already?) spend $36 million to win a $30 million prize.

I don't think they're as smart as a rocket scientist.. oh, wait...

Re:wait a minute.... (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about 2 months ago | (#46125385)

Correction: they're going to spend $36M of other people's money to win a $30M prize for themselves. You don't think the rocket scientists running this are footing the bill themselves, do you? Or that a lot of the money they're spending is going to strangers? If you want to question the financial wisdom of this venture, you might want to look at the people doing more of the paying and less of the getting paid side of the equation. That said, many space ventures have been more about dick waving than financial or scientific return on investment; and a $36M space dick is a really cheap space dick by most comparisons (especially for one that reaches the moon).

Re:wait a minute.... (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 2 months ago | (#46125433)

A pity you couldn't substitute "prestige" for "dick waving" and "space program" for "space dick."

Re:wait a minute.... (2)

femtobyte (710429) | about 2 months ago | (#46125499)

Apologies if poking fun at the motivations for private space exploration annoys people like yourself lacking in "prestige" due to having a small "space program."

moon jews! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46125453)

Just what we need - moon jews

Moonbase imminent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46125667)

Let's face it, as soon as Israel can reach the moon it's just a matter of time before they build a settlement on it.

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