The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Monday launched the Vulcan Centaur Rocket, carrying the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) Peregrine 1 Lunar lander, from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
This significant milestone in the United States’ space exploration may potentially be the first American moon landing in 50 years since the Apollo mission in 1972. It is also the first-ever lunar landing by any private company.
Peregrine’s mission is not just a landmark in commercial spaceflight but also a crucial step in space exploration. It is set to land on the moon on February 23, as reported by the Times of India.
The lander is carrying scientific payloads such as tiny robots from Mexico, and physical bitcoins intended to collect valuable data about the lunar surface.
In a surprising move, the lander is also carrying cremated remains and DNA of more than 200 people including hair reportedly belonging to former US presidents George Washington, Dwight Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy.
In addition, two companies, Celestis and Elysium Space, are launching space memorial missions onboard Peregrine. That includes DNA from legendary science fiction author Arthur C Clarke, as well as cremated ashes of the creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, and several members of its cast, including Nichelle Nichols, as reported by Gizmodo.
President of America’s largest Indigenous tribe Narajevo Nation, has raised concerns over the presence of human cremated remains on the lander vehicle, calling the mission a “desecration” of the Moon which holds a sacred place in their culture.
The successful launching of the Vulcan Centaur marks a pivotal moment in space exploration blending the boundaries between the government-led and private sector space missions.
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