Final Resting Place
Next year, a spacecraft will carry capsules of human remains to the surface of the Moon, where they’ll be left as a new form of orbital memorial.
The orbital memorial company Celestis plans to launch its Luna 02 mission on a July 2021 NASA flight to a region of the Moon called — fittingly — Lacus Mortis, according to Space.com. On it will be human cremains and DNA samples — a futuristic to honor the dead as space travel becomes more commonplace.
Remains of famous scientists, teachers, and even Arthur C. Clarke, the sci-fi author who penned the “Space Odyssey” books, one of which was adapted into the 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” are all hitching a ride on Luna 02, Space.com reports.
Other notable passengers include Mareta West, the late geologist who helped pick the landing site for the first crewed Moon mission. But aside from lunar celebrities, anyone else willing to pay for the $12,500 ticket was also able to memorialize their loved ones.
In the past, Celestis has even launched a cat named Pikachu’s cremains into orbit, and other companies including Elysium have sent human remains to orbit in a Cubesat. To Celestis CEO Charles Chafer, the new service is a way of expanding human culture throughout the cosmos.
“Our Luna 02 mission and subsequent Celestis Luna missions commemorate those who wish to make a tangible contribution to humanity’s continued exploration and peaceful utilization of space,” Chafer told Space.com. “As humanity expands beyond the limits of a single planet, it is particularly appropriate that we carry our rituals, celebrations and memorials along with us.”
READ MORE: Memorial spaceflight: Cremated remains flying to the moon on private lander in 2021 [Space.com]
More on orbital cremains: A Dead Cat Named Pikachu Is Getting Launched Into Space