The Navajos regard the Moon as a sacred celestial body, and placing human remains there is tantamount to desecration. Tribal Chief Buu Nigren’s statement emphasized the importance of the Moon in their cultural heritage and their strong opposition to planned space burials.

This is not the first time this question has come up. In 1998, NASA’s Lunar Prospector spacecraft returned Eugene Shoemaker’s ashes, drawing similar criticism. NASA has promised to consult ahead of future missions, but Nygren “sees only a lack of dialogue regarding this launch.”

This mission involves a private company called Astrobotic, so NASA’s influence is limited. Although Astrobotic is contracted for scientific payloads, NASA has no authority over non-Astrobotic payloads. But Nygren argues that NASA’s role and potential impact on this mission needs to be known.

Source: Ferra

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