Science instruments aren't the only things hitching a ride to the Moon on a commercial lunar lander that is ready for launch on Monday. Two companies specializing in "space burials" are also sending cremated human remains to the Moon, and this doesn't sit well with the Navajo Nation.
The Navajo people, one of the nation's largest indigenous groups, hold the Moon sacred, and putting human remains on the lunar surface amounts to desecration, according to Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren.
“The sacredness of the Moon is deeply embedded in the spirituality and heritage of many Indigenous cultures, including our own,” Nygren said in a statement. “The placement of human remains on the Moon is a profound desecration of this celestial body revered by our people.”
[…]Charles Chafer, CEO of Celestis, pushed back on the Navajo Nation objections in an interview with Marcia Smith of SpacePolicyOnline.com. “Nobody owns the Moon” and there is “no religious test for the conduct of space activities,” he said.
“We reject the whole premise that this is somehow desecration,” Chafer said. “We handle these capsules reverently. We do not scatter them on the lunar surface. We object to the entire characterization of our service that I read in the letter. It’s the antithesis of desecration. It’s celebration.”