Death

For A Cosmic Memorial, Shoot Your Loved One's Ashes Into Space

If you want to do something unconventional with your body after you die, there are a lot of options. You could turn your ashes into a tattoo, a diamond, a tree, or a coral reef, just to name a few. The company Elysium Space is adding an out-of-this-world possibility to the list: it wants to launch cremated remains into space.

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It's A Star! It's A Planet! It's Human Remains!

Named for the afterlife realm depicted in Greek mythology and founded by a former NASA engineer, Elysium Space is made up of what it calls a "unique team of space and funeral experts" specializing in "memorial spaceflight." Here's how it works: the company sends you a kit containing a "mini-scoop" that you use to place a portion of your loved one's remains into a special capsule. Once you mail the ash capsule back, you can have the cap engraved with your loved one's initials before the company places it in a spacecraft module, loads it into a spacecraft, and launches it into low-Earth orbit.

The ashes continue to float in the night sky for several months. The capsule is too small to see with the naked eye, but you can use a mobile app to pinpoint its place in the heavens. Eventually, the spacecraft reenters the Earth's atmosphere, where friction heats it to a brilliant glowing red and it burns up as a shooting star.

Shooting Mom Into Space...Priceless.

The whole process will run you a cool $2,490. That may sound like a lot, but not when you consider that the average funeral costs between $7,000 and $10,000, and cremation itself costs $1,000–$3,000. The company plans to launch its first memorials aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in late 2017 (it tried once in 2015, but the launch didn't reach orbit).

For an even more lofty goodbye, Elysium Space is also offering to take ashes to the moon aboard the private spaceflight company Astrobotic's Peregrine lander. That will run you about $10,000 — a small price to pay for scattering a loved one's ashes on an extraterrestrial world.

If it's good enough for "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry's final goodbye, it's good enough for your dearest departed.

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