Nasa is burying human remains on the MOON next year – and you can still buy grave plots
PEOPLE’S cremated ashes are to be sent to the Moon next year as part of a commercial burial service piggybacking on a Nasa lunar mission.
Texas space memorial firm Celestis will provide more than a dozen capsules carrying human remains and DNA for the flight.
Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lander on the lunar surface[/caption]
Dubbed Luna 2, the mission will launch on a July 2021 Nasa flight to a region of the Moon called Lacus Mortis, Space.com reports.
To date, only one person – revolutionary planetary scientist Eugene Shoemaker – has been buried on the lunar surface.
Celestis, which is based in Houston, aims to change that by regularly firing up remains to Earth’s rocky neighbour.
“The Celestis memorial capsules … will remain on the Moon as a permanent tribute to the intrepid souls who never stopped reaching for the stars,” the firm writes on its website.
The lander carrying the cremated remains of paying participants will touch down in the Lacus Mortis region of the Moon (circled in red)[/caption]
“Each time you view the Moon you’ll know your loved one is in a place few have ever gone.”
The remains of former space scientists, sci-fi authors and even a British maths teacher will be onboard next year’s ground breaking flight.
Nasa’s own Mareta West, the lunar geologist who determined the crucial site for the first landing on the Moon, will have her remains scattered as part of the mission.
Celestis’ 2021 burials will be carried to the lunar surface by a spacecraft built by private US robotics outfit Astrobotic.
Nasa planetary scientist Eugene Shoemaker is currently the only person to have been buried on the Moon[/caption]
Its Peregrine Lander will be the the first American spacecraft to land on the Moon since Apollo.
The mission, called Peregrine Mission One, will be launched by United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Capsules will remain on the Moon as a permanent memorial, Celestis said.
The remains of Shoemaker – the planetary scientist laid to rest on the Moon in 1998 – were scattered in partnership with Celestis.
Next year’s mission will mark only the company’s second memorial flight – more than 22 years on from its first.
It’s a futuristic way to honour the dead and a result of space travel becoming more commonplace.
Astrobotic was selected in 2019 by Nasa for a $79.5million contract to deliver payloads to the Moon.
As well as Celestis capsules, the Pittsburgh-based company will use its lander to drop off scientific and technology demonstration equipment.
Nasa’s Artemis lunar mission – key facts
Nasa’s Artemis lunar mission – key facts
- Nasa has pledged to land man on the Moon in 2024
- The mission, dubbed Artemis, will mark the first time astronauts have set foot on the lunar surface since 1972
- A giant Nasa rocket dubbed the Space Launch System will carry astronauts beyond Earth’s atmosphere
- Once at the Moon, two astronauts will descend to the surface from an orbiting craft called the Lunar Gateway
- Nasa has pledged that one of the landing crewa will be female, marking the first time a woman has set foot on the Moon
- The pair would land on the lunar south pole, where vast reserves of frozen water could be tapped for future explorers
- The landing system that brought the astronauts to the surface will then blast back to the orbiting Gateway satellite
- They will board an Orion capsule for the 250,000-mile trip back to Earth
- Nasa has a mountain of technical challenges to overcome before Artemis gets the green light
- It’s still not clear if everything will be ready in time for the ambitious 2024 launch date
- Nasa boss Jim Bridenstine has said the Moon will serve as a critical training ground for Mars expeditions, perhaps in the 2030s
It’s not the only form of space burial available to punters with cash to burn.
Aura Flights, a company based in Sheffield, UK, uses weather balloons to scatter people’s ashes 20 miles above Earths surface.
In 2018, US company Elysium Flights launched a gram each of 100 people’s ashes beyond orbit on a SpaceX rocket.
After the capsule was ejected, families and friends could track the remains until they eventually burned up in the atmosphere.
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In other news, SpaceX this week launched four Nasa astronauts to the International Space Station in a historic mission for space travel.
A truck-sized asteroid came within 250 miles of Earth on Friday 13 November.
And, Venus and the crescent Moon will come together as part of a bright celestial event this evening.
What do you think of Nasa’s Moon plans? Let us know in the comments!
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