Despite a disappointing result, the SpaceIL team captured the imagination of the entire world with the daring Beresheet mission.
Michael Kaplan served in a leadership position at NASA Headquarters, where he was responsible for all new astrophysical space observatories. He worked on the Hubble Space Telescope. He led the creation of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) flying since 2009 and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), expected to launch in 2021. He also led studies of future space telescopes to detect and characterize Earth-like planets orbiting nearby stars with the goal of determining if they could support life as we understand it. Finally, in positions at Ball Aerospace, Boeing and Space Systems Loral, Michael has led studies for space missions within our solar system to obtain and return samples from asteroids and comets, see through that haze of Venus’s atmosphere to map its surface for future exploration, and provide a “GPS” system around the Moon and Mars to facilitate future exploration.