The Final Frontier

Have you ever looked up at the star filled sky and wondered what is out there? Thought about advances in technology that may allow you, yes you sir or madam, to venture forward and to boldly go. Well now you and your loved ones have the possibility!

Yes indeed, US based company Celestis is offering to take you into space, orbit the Earth and even bring you back. They also offer an orbit of the moon, and maybe even a landing, and all at a price that mere mortals can afford (Earth orbits for under $1000, the moon for under $10 000 and deep space for just a few thousand more).

All trips are guaranteed and insured and promise the highest level of space travel technology. The only drawback is that you have to be dead and cremated.

Spock had a space burial in Star Trek

Yes, Celestis are offering to take you or your loved one’s ashes to space (well about a chap stick sized capsule of them) for the experience of an after-lifetime. They have already conducted 10 Memorial Spaceflights and provide tracking data straight to the comfort of your laptop or phone.

Just imagine the scene, your relative passes every 90 minutes above your head, you take your laptop into the garden with your kids or even use your Starwalk app to follow the trajectory on an easy to understand user friendly map, and soon a dot in the sky passes and you wave at Grandma looking down at you. No need to change the flowers or trek half way across the country every anniversary, she comes to you. Some people are on several different trips so you choose frequency for you and the view for them.

Now my first thought was ‘what an incredible waste of resources, money, fuel, and willful creation of space junk’, but these thoughts are a bit harsh. The ashes are sent up on commercial satellites as paying passengers, so they do not in themselves create any of these problems and as the website argues, help to fund launches that may be of advantage to everyone and “support the vision of a robust future for humanity in space”.

So what do you think? Is this just folly or an interesting way to fund space exploration in this era of cutbacks and a business opportunity for the future? It might sound like a strange idea but would you like to give it a try?