Getting your ashes scattered into outer space isn’t a service many funeral directors provide. We wanted to know more about scattering ashes in the universe, burial in space, and the next generation of cosmos-surfing funeral directors. Join us.
Has space burial been done before?
Eugene Merle Shoemaker, astronaut and advocate of great names, had an ounce of his ashes taken up to the moon. Aboard NASA’s Lunar Prospector, Shoemaker’s ashes were carried in a capsule specially designed to withstand the Moon’s harsh conditions. NASA then deliberately crashed the craft on the surface of the moon, taking Shoemaker with it.
Another astronaut, Clyde Tambaugh, can also be found cruising around the solar system, hitching a ride back from Pluto, the planet he also first discovered. A portion of Tambaugh’s ashes were placed on board the New Horizons aircraft.
If you haven’t recently discovered a minor planet or any other intergalactic entity, then you might still be in with the chance of getting a space burial.
What do you need for a space burial?
If you want to be buried off-world, then here’s what you’ll need:
- About £2000 knocking about
- Time set aside to plan out the logistics
- A preference for burial on a faraway rock or the near-space ether
- Faith in human innovation
Where can I get a space burial?
Unsurprisingly, getting a small portion of your ashes into the nearby stratosphere is more viable than, you know, hauling a coffin through the rings of Saturn. That’s why there’s a rising number of startups offering to send a small portion of your ashes into space.
Celestis, the American company that transported Shoemaker’s remains to the moon, is still the only company to have accomplished a proper space burial – Shoemaker actually reached the surface of another cosmic entity. The race, though, is on. It’s no secret that we’re entering the commercial golden age of space exploration, just like we’re entering the age of cab-hailing apps and food delivery. Space burial might just be another modern phenomenon.
Elysium Space company are also big players on the space scene, offering a cut price version where a very small amount of your remains can join many others’ on a journey towards the ether.
The rise of private enterprises, like Amazon giant Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s Space X, mean business – heaps of money is being pumped into the next generation of space exploration, and there’s no reason why space burial isn’t set to also become corporate.
When will space burial be widely available?
While many other intriguing death voyagers have dabbled in space burial, including psychedelics enthusiast Timothy Leary and Star Trek franchise creator Gene Roddenberry, we wondered how many lay enthusiasts might be able to get involved.
If you’re in the US, you can’t really go wrong with Elysium – they’ve set the price of their space burial, which sends a gram of your ashes into the ether, at $2000. That’s well under the average funeral cost in the US. Though, that is only a fraction of your overall bodily remains.
Here in the UK, Ascension Flights, set up by two graduates from the University of Sheffield, have spent the last few years successfully sending hundreds of items into space. Now, they’re opening up their experiments to the dead. For around £2000, Ascension Flights will launch a portion of your remains in a balloon up into the atmosphere, and film it for prosperity. Bargain.
Find out more
If you’d like to be buried on the Sun, or shot into a black hole, you might need to wait a few decades, as well as save up your pennies. But with space enthusiast Elon Musk professing that he’d like to die on Mars, we can’t help but think that the funeral industry is set to take our galaxy by storm.
For more funeral planning options, you need to check out our page on DEATH.io
Rather not go out in a traditional way? You should take a look at some of our options beyond burial and cremation.
Are you interested in other worldly explorations? Take a look at our article on how psychedelic drugs might DEATH.io.