23:42 GMT14 June 2021
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    A Houston-based startup will send your cremated remains to outer space - at the very reasonable rate of $12,500 per gram.

    If that's a bit too pricey for you, you can get a three-ounce (85 gram) bottle of your remains sent into low-Earth orbit for a mere $5,000, where it will spiral for a few years before being pulled back towards Earth and burned up during re-entry.

    Space burial services such as these continue to grow in popularity, and start-ups such as Celestis (who have launched the remains of dozens of people into orbit since they began operations in 2015) have come to address that niche. Celestis CEO Charles Chafer says that his company intends to send the remains of as many as 500 Americans into orbital and deep-space graves in 2017.

    "We're in the tsunami phase of new space activities," Chafer said to the OC Register.

    Celestis has partnered with Argos Funeral Service, the first funeral provider to acquire permission to send cremate remains to the Moon. The ashes of the rich and strange who wish to be buried on the moon will hitch a ride aboard a Moon Express private flight. At that point, a robotic lunar lander will carry the ashes and DNA to their permanent resting place.

    "It's not all that different from scattering ashes at sea," Chafer said. "Everybody dies. So it's a huge market."

    Luminaries such as Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry chose to be buried in space, which have contributed to its popularization. As space is democratized by private spaceflight endeavors, burials beyond Earth's orbit become increasingly viable.

    "Just a few years ago, getting anything into orbit pretty much had an entry price of over $100 million. SpaceX entered the market at $80 million and has now dropped to $65 million [per launch]," according to spaceflight entrepreneur Greg Autry. "They are well on their way to getting to prices of $40 million or less. The big satellite pays for 90 percent of the cost of launch, and you can easily throw a few other projects in the trunk."

    "I think space is similar to the way the internet was in driving an economic boom," he added. "The internet wasn't just about routers and cables and TVs, it was about new retail methods and new ways of interacting. The initial drivers in markets tend to be something that may not be important later."

    Typically, an adult will create around five pounds (2268 grams) of ashes when cremated. In other words, it would cost tens of millions of dollars to have one's entire body disposed of in space.

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    Tags:
    startup, funeral, burial, Gene Roddenberry, Moon, Texas, Houston
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