Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Daniel Ayalon, told Globes financial newspaper Wednesday that Israel wishes to renew its cooperation with America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to send a second Israeli astronaut into space. "There is a good chance that another Israeli astronaut will fly to outer space in a shuttle or other spacecraft," said Ayalon. "I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that an Israeli astronaut will land on the moon, as part of U.S. efforts to establish a permanent base there."
Ayalon is scheduled to meet NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe during a ceremony marking the anniversary of the Columbia space shuttle disaster, in which Israel’s only astronaut, Colonel Ilan Ramon, and the six other crew members were killed.
Israel Defense and Armed Forces Attache to the US, Major-General Moshe Evry Sukenik, will coordinate the preparations for Israel’s next space mission, which Ayalon sees as a continuation of Colonel Ilan Ramon’s unfinished mission.
Ramon had brought with him to space a picture drawn by a 14-year-old Jewish boy murdered in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. The drawing shows a view of Earth from the moon, as imagined by Petr Ginz, a multi-talented youth, who, like Ilan Ramon, was very interested in science. Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum has placed the original picture on display in memory of both Petr Ginz and Colonel Ilan Ramon.