Death, it’s something all humans will experience directly and indirectly. While most people will agree it’s best to avoid it, death has always given me a sense of wonder. I always knew what death was ever since I was a kid, but it was because I watched and read Charlotte’s Web and it made me cry. I haven’t written my will yet, but I will some day. The reason I’m writing this post is because I know my brother reads my blog sometimes and I want to make it perfectly clear to him and anyone else reading this that my last wish is for a space burial into deep space.
I still will have an open casket funeral where “Blue” by Yoko Kanno is played and I’ll most likely be an organ donor by then, but after all is settled I want to have a space burial. For those that don’t know what space burial is, it’s the process of simply launching cremated remains into outer space, so I will eventually be cremated. Not all of my cremated remains will be launched into space though, as only some of them will be placed into a capsule (about the size of a tube of lipstick) and launched into space using a rocket. I should probably note they are not actually scattered in space and do not contribute to space debris. The option of space burial is not commonly chosen because it can be quite expensive and only one company currently specializes in providing the service. Some famous space burials include Gene Roddenberry the creator of Star Trek, Timothy Leary who was an American writer, psychologist, psychedelic drug advocate and former Harvard professor, American astronomer and the discoverer of Pluto, Clyde Tombaugh and James Doohan who played Scotty in Star Trek.
The company that specializes in space burial Celestis, Inc. has a website which can be found here. On their home page it reads,
“…From the stars we are born, to the stars we will return…
Leaving Earth to touch the cosmos is an experience few have ever known, but many have often dreamed of. Celestis makes it possible to honor the dream and memory of your departed loved one by launching a symbolic portion of cremated remains into Earth orbit, onto the lunar surface or into deep space. Missions into space that return the cremated remains to Earth are also available.”
They have different services at different prices. There’s “Earth Rise” where the spaceflight will return to Earth starting at $995. There’s “Earth Orbit” where the remains are launched into Earth orbit starting at $4,995. There’s “Luna” where the remains are launched into moon orbit or on the surface starting at $12,500. Finally, there’s “Voyager” where the remains are launched into deep space starting at $12,500 and this is the one that I am interested in. The website even explains the step-by-step process. They have scheduled missions so I’m not entirely sure what year I’ll be sent into deep space, but it doesn’t really matter because I’ll be dead by then.
The website also has a FAQ which answered a lot of the questions I was wondering about. Family and friends are able to view the launch, a video of the launch and related memorial service are available for those who can’t attend the launch and “in the event that the Celestis Earth Orbit Service spacecraft does not achieve orbit, we will — at no additional cost — place a second sample of the cremated remains aboard our next scheduled mission”. It seems I can plan the service in advance so when I have the money for the launch I’ll make sure to look into it
I know space burial isn’t the traditional burial or cremation, but it’s something I would like to take a part in. It sure would take my screen name “Starchaser” to a whole new level, but I don’t want a brief space hop or a few trips around the Earth block, I want to go on a permanent celestial adventure. I will admit my interest in astronomy, cosmology and science fiction do play a part in my desire of space burial. It does sound like something that would come out of a sci-fi book, but it’s what I would like after I’m dead and that is my death wish.