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The Final Frontier

Are memorial space flights a way to fund space travel?

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?

0 replies on “The Final Frontier”

Oh man I was so excited at the start of this article. I was going to be one of the first frontiers of public space travel. Oh well, I guess I will have to wait until I die. I don’t think I would pay for this service, but if someone is more power to Celestis.

It would be fun to go up into space, but I am not sure I would appreciate it if I was just ashes!

Thanks for the comment Steven, welcome to the blog 🙂
Christopher – Admin Team

It sounded good for a moment until I read the bit about having to be dead and cremated. I find it incredible that people would consider actually paying so much money for this. Also, should we be funding space exploration at this point in time or trying to sort out some of the big issues we have on the planet.

I might be inclined to agree with you there, but I bet they are not going to stop. Apart from telecommunications and military uses they do conduct all types of experiments up there and Celestis say that they are making this type of thing more viable. But I can’t get over the fuel waste and keep thinking about Wall.E when the probe punctures through a layer of space debris on its way out of orbit.

Wall.E was a great movie, my yougest son used to be quite keen on it so I saw it several times. From what I have heard the atmosphere already has a huge amount of space junk in it.

I’m all for space exploration however I am a little concerned about the cost.

In my opinion it’s just a waste of time. I mean if you can visit alive over there then it’s an incredible idea but what does a dead man feel there. You’re only wasting your money and valuable resources by sending the ashes that far away.

I guess that is a small problem!

They would probably still let you go it you were alive, the only clause would be that you could fit into the same chap stick sized capsule 😉

Thanks for the comment Roy, welcome to Technology Bloggers!
Christopher – Admin Team

I am tempted to agree with your initial reaction to it. Even though I too would love to see humans be able to make space more and more of a realistic extension of their presence on earth, this sort of thing does seem frivolous and pointless, to me anyway.

-Jean

Yes, unless it is a way of coping with grief. There is a musician Randy Van Warmer (You left me just when I needed you most was a big hit) who has been on lots of trips. He was a great fan of space exploration and his family obviously feel they are fulfilling his dreams. Maybe it helps them feel better.

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