Aug 6, 2008

Lost in space

Did you know that you could be buried in space?

It is now possible to send a small capsule of cremated ashes of the deceased on board a satellite.
Today 150 people have been "buried" in this manner including famous persons such as Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek (space burried in 1997), James Doohan, Star Trek actor (more precisely Scotty) and Mercury/Gemini astronaut Gordon Cooper (both on-board the last Falcon 1).

The American company Celestis commercializes this service on satellites in collaboration with SpaceX Falcon 1 while NASA have used it as tribute to outstanding scientists such as Eugene Schoemaker (Schoemaker-Levy comet co-discoverer) space buried on the Moon with the Lunar Prospector orbiter and Clyde Tombaugh (Discoverer of Pluto) space buried on-board the Pluto probe New Horizons.

Two contenders of the GLXP have signed agreements with Celestis (ie. Odyssey Moon Limited and Astrobotic Technology). A launch date "as soon as 2010" has been announced by the service provider as well as details on mass and price ranging from $10,000 for 1 gram of Ashes (for 1 person) to $30,000 for 14 grams of Ashes (for 2 persons).
It is not yet clear how these payloads will be positioned on the spacecraft, however one could imagine that the capsules could be packed into groups and used as ballast mass (what an honor that would be!).
In any case, it might just be one of those simple ideas bringing good money to the projects!

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