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Lunar lander carrying human remains set to burn up in Earth's atmosphere

NASA’s privately built Peregrine lander, which carries a cargo of human remains that drew criticism from the president of the Navajo Nation, is now set to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

A fuel leak had forced Astrobotic Technology to abandon the first attempt at a U.S. lunar landing in over 50 years.

Astrobotic said in a press release that after evaluating the best way to safely end the mission, it plans to let the lander burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

The craft was intended to land on the moon to deposit ashes and DNA from about 70 people.

In December, Navajo President Buu Nygren requested a delay of the launch.

After the remains of a Flagstaff scientist were sent to the moon in 1998, NASA had promised to consult with the Navajo Nation before future lunar missions with human remains.

Nate Engle was an intern at KJZZ in 2024.