Taking Reservations For Lunar “Burial” Flight
Inc. has begun taking reservations to
deliver cremains to the moon
as early as next year. A commercial launch from Cape Canaveral or
Vandenberg Air Force Base will include a payload containing
cremated remains of about 200 people. The burial flight to the
moon (and then impact with its surface) will run US$12,500. Each
capsule would contain about 200 grams (7 ounces) of ash, be
inscribed with the name of the deceased and an epitaph. Flights to
low Earth orbit are available for US$5,300.
is in discussions with two companies planning moon missions to
share space in their capsules. The launch will be provided by
Orbital Sciences Corp. NASA is not involved. Celestis has already
launched three space burial flights.
geologist Mareta N. West, who helped select the Sea of Tranquility
landing site for Apollo 11, has the first confirmed reservation
for a flight late next year or early 2002. She died in 1998 at 83.
The cremated remains of Dr. Eugene Shoemaker, co-discoverer of the
Shoemaker-Levy comet, were placed in a capsule, loaded aboard
NASA's Lunar Prospector and sent to the moon in 1998. The Lunar
Prospector was crashed into the Moon’s surface in 1999.
Navajo tribe complained about the Shoemaker lunar burial and
received an apology from NASA. Traditional members of the
country's largest tribe, which has about 250,000 members, regard
the moon as sacred. Navajo spokesman Ray Baldwin Louis says,
“It's unfortunate that people have to come up with schemes any
way they can just to make money."
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