A historic mission to the Moon is approaching its crescendo, with the Israeli-built Beresheet lander today entering orbit around our biggest satellite and preparing to close in on its surface. If successful, it will become the first privately built spacecraft to touch down on the Moon, and would make Israel just the fourth nation to do so after the US, the Soviet Union and China.

    Beresheet, which is Hebrew for "In the Beginning," launched from Cape Canaveral in February atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, where it became the first private mission to the Moon to reach lift-off. Originally built for the Google Lunar XPrize competition (which ended with no winner), the spacecraft is actually the lightest ever sent to the Moon with a mass of just 1,322 lb (600 kg).