Space graveyard: NASA urged to stop desecrating the Moon

Two organizations, Celestis and Elysium Space, are currently preparing space memorial missions using the Peregrine spacecraft. The DNA of the famous science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke will be on board the lander, as well as the ashes of the creator of “Star Trek”, Gene Roddenberry. Also on board will be hair with DNA samples, which are believed to belong to George Washington, Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.

Moon. Photo: Unsplash

The cost of burial on the Moon starts from 12,500 dollars for Celestis, while the lunar memorial service from Elysium Space will cost 11,950 dollars. Elysium is a newcomer to the field of space memorial services. In turn, Celestis has already conducted 13 similar missions, delivering human remains to suborbital heights. However, this time the company hopes to expand the boundaries of its services. Both companies take on board only a symbolic amount of ashes in case something goes wrong. A similar thing happened to Celestis in May 2023, when a small suborbital rocket exploded a few seconds after launch during the Aurora Flight mission.

Celestis and Elysium services

Peregrine will be launched into space by the Vulcan Centaur rocket from the United Launch Alliance. The company hopes to be the first to land its own private spacecraft on the moon’s surface as part of a NASA-funded initiative. NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, which is part of the Artemis program, is designed to help private companies deliver cargo to the Moon. 

The Peregrine lunar lander on the ULA’s Vulcan Centaur rocket. Photo: ASTROBOTIC

The services of Celestis and Elysium are aimed at honoring the memory of their loved ones with memorial space flights. In the future, Celestis plans to send the Enterprise spacecraft with a memorial cargo to a distance of up to 300 million kilometers in deep space, far beyond the orbit of Mars. The second memorial cargo, Tranquility, will fly to the Moon on the Peregrine lander. Elysium Space will also place its own payload on the Moon along with Peregrine.

Desecration of the Moon or a successful business plan?

This can be a touching way for many to honor the memory. But at least one group expressed their indignation because they consider such a flight to be disrespectful and an insult to other nations. The President of the Navajo Nation, Buu Van Nygren, expressed his request to postpone the launch of the mission. Nygren notes that the Moon is of great importance to many indigenous cultures, and turning it into a graveyard with human remains is “tantamount to desecration.”

Peregrine on the Moon (concept). Source: Astrobotic

The U.S. government has already formed an interagency group to consider the objections of the Navajo Nation and the request for a delay. This was stated by NASA representatives during a briefing. Celestis, for its part, does not consider these objections to be significant.

However, such statements make you think. As the Moon becomes more and more accessible for commercial landings, international control of what gets to its surface is needed.

Earlier we talked about the most unusual space services.

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