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NASA to discuss flying human ashes to Moon with concerned Navajo leaders

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Washington: NASA and Department of Transportation officials have set up an intergovernmental panel to discuss with Navajo Native American leaders the issue of flying cremated human ashes to the Moon on the Peregrine Mission One to launch next week and subsequent flights, Joel Kearns. deputy associate administrator for exploration in the US space agency’s Science Mission Directorate told reporters on Thursday.

“NASA did receive a letter from the Navajo nation,” Kearns said. “An intergovernmental team is looking into this. There is an intergovernmental meeting being set up with the Navajo nation to discuss this. We take concerns like this from the Navajo nation very seriously.”

On December 21, Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, and Transportation Assistant Secretary for Tribal Government Affairs Arlando Teller expressing the Navajo nation’s deep concern and disappointment on the issue, adding that the Moon is sacred to the Navajo people.

“The concept of placing human remains on the Moon is deeply troubling to the Navajo because it could transform a sacred space into what could be perceived as a graveyard which is …counter to their cultural norms,” the statement said.’

NASA is planning on launching the Vulcan Centaur carrying the Peregrine Mission One by Astrobotic Technology on January 8. Among 28 payloads are some by Celestis and Elysium Space, companies known for providing memorial services by shipping human cremated remains.

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