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Space

Space Burial 491

Posted by michael
from the burial-not-exactly-the-right-word dept.
roman_mir writes "Celestis is the name of a company that is offering space burials for some $11K USD. Isn't this nice, like there is not enough garbage in space already... So, how many of you want to be buried in space? I want to burn in the Sun (or at least the egomaniacal part of me.)"
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Space Burial

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  • PS: Please aim at the section of space that in the 23rd century will be off limits to all spacefarers, in which resides the Genesis planet. Please make sure to also provide good embalming and a capsule capable of shielding body from cosmic rays.

  • Broadcasting dead... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday February 15, 2004 @09:57PM (#8290169)
    As a lower cost option, these people allow you to broadcast a digital message [celestis.com] which can contain any audio or picture format you want into space.

    They call the service Ad Astra. I like the dobule meaning of the word "ad" in that name...
  • by Jad LaFields (607990) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @09:57PM (#8290171)
    To much garbage in space? Man that would my point for being 'buried' in space... to become a potentially dangerous piece of space debris! It would be like coming back from the dead to strike fear in the hearts of the living!
    • This service won't help you with that. The small sample of you that they send will end up vaporized on reentry.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2004 @12:47AM (#8291097)
        But then they'll shoot you down with lasers.

        http://www.seds.org/pub/info/newsletters/spacevi ew s/text/20000821.txt


        NASA to Test Laser "Broom" to Clean Space Junk

        NASA plans to test a laser system in 2003 that may help clear
        low-Earth orbit of debris that could pose a risk to the shuttle and
        space station.

        New Scientist magazine reported in its current issue that a
        shuttle flight in 2003 will test Project Orion, a groundbased laser
        system that would act as a "broom", sweeping out small debris from
        orbit.

        During the mission the shuttle will release small instrumented
        objects designed to simulate space debris. The objects will be
        equipped with GPS receivers so that their positions can be tracked as
        they are illuminated by a groundbased megawatt-power laser. The laser
        will vaporize part of the object's surface, creating a small amount of
        thrust that slows the object down and eventually causes it to reenter
        the Earth's atmosphere.

        If successful, the system could be used to clear out low-Earth
        orbit of small pieces of orbital debris that, because of their high
        velocities, can cause significant damage if they strike a spacecraft.
        "With a laser system we could clear from orbit all the debris between
        1 and 10 centimeters [0.4 to 4 inches] in size within two years," said
        Jonathan Campbell, head of the Project Orion effort at NASA's Marshall
        Space Flight Center.

        That size range is significant because debris of that size
        poses the greatest risk. Shielding on spacecraft can protect them
        from objects smaller than 1 cm (0.4 in.), while those larger than 10
        cm (4 in.) across can be tracked from the ground and spacecraft moved
        to avoid them. Between 1 and 10 cm, though, are objects too small to
        be tracked from the ground and too large to be effectively shielded
        against.

        Campbell and others involved with Project Orion (first
        described in SpaceViews in 1997) are optimistic that lasers can clear
        low-Earth orbits effectively and at a relatively modest cost. "We now
        know we can decelerate and de-orbit the debris with the types of laser
        that are available to us," based on a series of recent tests on the
        ground, he said.

        A two-year effort to clear debris from orbit would cost about
        $200 million, Campbell estimated. By comparison, the cost of a single
        space shuttle mission has been estimated to be as much as a half-
        billion dollars.

    • Hmm.. Getting 'buried' in a near vacuum... What a concept... Did military intelligence come up with this? or some other Oxymoronish organization? I should sign up for this then in my will leave all my money to attorneys to sue the pants off them for actually just tossing my body into space to drift and leave all the proceeds to the Open Source Community.
    • I personally plan to become a radioactive monster with poisonous radioactive breath that can only be stopped by trapping it in a ship and sending it into the deep space.

      It's a lot cheaper than your plan, and I still get the added bonus of the fear-striking thing.
      • Oh, and by the way, it also leaves me open for coming back in the sequel, where the ship is picked up by some garbage collectors in the distant future and I wreak havoc on a space station 500 years from now before finally being launched into the sun where I am finally and completely destroyed, leaving no hope for another sequel with me in it.

        However, the radioactive eggs that I probably laid at the time could end up hatching and once again striking the fear into the hearts of the living.

        I got it all worke
  • Re: story (Score:5, Funny)

    by bentini (161979) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @09:57PM (#8290174)
    Quoth the poster: "I want to burn in the Sun (or at least the egomaniacal part of me.)"

    I know *exactly* how you feel.

    I want you to burn in the Sun, too.
    • Re: story (Score:4, Interesting)

      by earthforce_1 (454968) <earthforce_1@yah[ ]com ['oo.' in gap]> on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:14PM (#8290290) Journal
      Actually, flying straight the sun is very difficult.

      If you are pushed a hair off course, your remains will go into orbit around the sun, or be blown outward by the solar winds.

      Even if you aim precisely at the sun, the ever increasing pressure of the solar discharge will tend to push you off course and away.

      • by Mad Man (166674) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:48PM (#8290497)
        was Re: Story [slashdot.org]
        Actually, flying straight the sun is very difficult.

        If you are pushed a hair off course, your remains will go into orbit around the sun, or be blown outward by the solar winds.
        Even if you aim precisely at the sun, the ever increasing pressure of the solar discharge will tend to push you off course and away.


        So don't push the body into the sun from orbit.

        Do it from a solar sail craft that is hovering over the sun (from a point where light pressure is balanced between gravitational pull), and just drop the body in.

        As far as I know, the idea belongs to Bob L. Forward [robertforward.com]. That's how one of the characters is "buried" at the end of his novel Flight of the Dragonfly [amazon.com] (which was later re-published in bloated form as Rocheworld; get the original).

        Since the light sail craft was not in orbit, there was no forward component of motion. Thus, when released from the craft, the body was not in orbit either. The only force acting on the body was the gravitational pull of the star.
        • by LauraScudder (670475) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:58PM (#8290555) Journal
          The fact of the matter is that from Earth it's much more economical to eject things out of the solar system than into the sun, which is really counter-intuitive. Since most people we know of would ultimately be starting the journey at Earth, it doesn't particularly matter how they manage that last drop into the sun, you still have to ditch all your angular momentum, which takes loads of energy.
      • Yes and no (Score:5, Informative)

        by roystgnr (4015) <roystgnr AT ticam DOT utexas DOT edu> on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:58PM (#8290549) Homepage
        This is the part you got right:

        Actually, flying straight the sun is very difficult.

        Yes, it is: to go into an orbit that will intersect the sun you have to kill nearly all your current velocity with respect to the sun. IIRC for the Earth that's about 25 miles per second (plus a bit extra to get you out of Earth's gravity well), which is more than three times as fast this "put your ashes in orbit" mission.

        This is the part you just made up:

        If you are pushed a hair off course, your remains will go into orbit around the sun, or be blown outward by the solar winds.

        There is a reason why light-sail designs call for square miles of material thinner than paper: because unless you've got that much surface area to weight, neither sunlight nor solar wind will change your course very much.

        Even if you aim precisely at the sun, the ever increasing pressure of the solar discharge will tend to push you off course and away.

        That pressure will increase with the inverse square of your distance from the sun, as does the force of gravity pulling you towards the sun. If you were on course to begin with, you won't be blown off it, certainly not enough to miss a million mile wide target.
  • by kiwirob (588600) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @09:58PM (#8290177) Homepage
    I want to burn in the Sun (or at least the egomaniacal part of me.)
    According to my ex-wife I'm gonna burn in hell when I die.
  • by cgranade (702534) <cgranade@ g m a i l .com> on Sunday February 15, 2004 @09:58PM (#8290179) Homepage Journal
    Call me crazy, mod me -1, Wrong, whatever. I just wonder about launching stuff into space for no good reason. There's only so much mass on Earth, and what happens if the mass we throw off doesn't come back? I understand what we gain by launching satellites and all, but what does this gain us? I suppose it does have some advantages over the problem of finite room to bury people, but still...
    • by wowbagger (69688) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:01PM (#8290208) Homepage Journal
      The amount of mass being launched is measured in the hundreds of kilograms per year.

      The amount of mass falling onto the earth from space is measured in the hundreds of tons per day.

      Do the math.
      • by whereiswaldo (459052) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:11PM (#8290279) Journal
        The amount of mass being launched is measured in the hundreds of kilograms per year.

        The amount of mass falling onto the earth from space is measured in the hundreds of tons per day.


        What sorts of stuff are we launching and what sorts of stuff is falling onto the Earth? Maybe we're trading titanium for sand. Not that I think we have to worry - just a thought.

        Still, maybe launching yourself into space could prevent you from being brought back to life someday. Then again, maybe you'd be brought back to life to fight some losing battle against aliens... ;)
    • by beeplet (735701) <beeplet@gmail.com> on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:05PM (#8290236) Journal
      Considering the earth accumulates 30 million kg of space dust each year, I don't think this will be a problem. (http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news19.html)
      • by Yorrike (322502) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:26PM (#8290371) Homepage Journal
        True as that may be, people are getting fatter...

        Say a group of zombies, or ninjas, or a killer virus that turned people into zombie ninjas, caused a good 5 billion people to die. Sure, these guys would have a booming business, but at 70Kg for each corpse, that's 350,000,000,000Kg (350 billion), which would require a millennium to replaces with space dust.

        And besides, if you're ejecting all those kadavas into space, you're just asking the aforementioned virus to evolve, giving rise to a hideous race of mutant space zombie-ninjas.

        Zombies need to eat too.

    • by kfg (145172) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:09PM (#8290264)
      The earth's mass increases by tons a day, from the influx of space stuff. It doesn't really matter, as a percentage of the earth's mass the stuff that comes in and what we ship out is waaaaaay below the level of significant digits.

      I could sit here half the night listing reasons why launching dead granny dust into space is a pretty daft idea, but worries about unbalancing the earth's orbit or running out of carbon wouldn't be among them.

      If you took all the people in the world and packed them into a box, like sardines, without cremating, that box would have to be about 3/4 mile per side.

      That's it. All of humanity. All of humanity's mass. Poof it out into space and the earth wouldn't so much as bobble, or care.

      KFG
      • that box would have to be about 3/4 mile per side

        That doesn't sound right, so I've done my own quick calculation in metric. I'm assuming that the average size of a person is 50cm by 30cm (~1 foot 8 inches by 1 foot), that there are about 6 billion people, and that all of them are standing up in the box. These assumptions should be near enough, and make it easy to do without a calculator.

        area per person = 0.50m * 0.30m = 0.15m^2

        total area = 0.15m^2 * 6.0E9 = 9.0E8m^2

        length per box side = sqrt(0.9E8m

      • by Have Blue (616) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @11:18PM (#8290671) Homepage
        If you took all the people in the world and packed them into a box, like sardines, without cremating, that box would have to be about 3/4 mile per side.

        Maybe so, but can they all stand on Zanzibar?
    • by brucmack (572780) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:11PM (#8290272)
      It doesn't gain anything, it's a business. It's not like they are a group of researchers who have concluded that space 'burial' is better than land burial. They're just there to cater to relatively well-off people who either just like the idea of being a celestial body or are somehow religious and think that they are being 'buried' closer to god.

      As for the mass on earth question, I wouldn't think the mass we've shot into space is anything to worry about. The earth is big and we aren't to the point where we can cheaply send tons of stuff into space. Even if everyone on earth were to be 'buried' there, it wouldn't cause any significant impact.

      As an aside, what's with calling it a space burial anyway? I guess it's better on the marketing than just saying they'll shoot your lifeless body into nothingness where you'll cook on one side and freeze on the other.
    • by evilmrhenry (542138) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:17PM (#8290312)
      (Note: all numbers pulled from Internet in the space of a few minutes. May be inaccurate.)

      mass of Earth:
      5.9742 x 10^24 kilograms. That's
      5,974,200,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg.

      mass of average person:
      about 100 kilograms

      number of bodies needed to change the Earth's weight by 1%:
      597,420,000,000,000,000,000

      Population of Earth:
      about 6,000,000,000

      Weight of Apollo 11:
      about 30,000 kg

      Number of Apollo 11's needed to change Earth's weight by 1%
      1,991,400,000,000,000,000

      In conclusion, the Earth is really big.
  • by Bobdoer (727516) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @09:58PM (#8290183) Homepage Journal
    This is what you give your geek on Valentine's Day. You may have to kill them first, but it's worth it.
  • by wowbagger (69688) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @09:59PM (#8290185) Homepage Journal
    This is old news - Celestis handled my brother [celestis.com] back in 2000.
  • by Threni (635302) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @09:59PM (#8290189)
    We all will...eventually. You'll be dead anyway, so why does it matter if you get toasted in the months following your death rather than a few hundred million?
  • Cheap (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sith (15384) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:00PM (#8290191)
    This seems awfully affordable for launching anything in to space. Even if it is cremated remains, I would have expectede that it would be more expensive. Their webpage claims they have two of these in orbit already though. So all I need to do is find $11k and then cremate myself...
  • a bit cheap (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dj245 (732906) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:00PM (#8290195) Homepage
    Only $11,000? Thats pretty cheap, considering the cost of taking a pound of gear into orbit. How do they get human remains that light? Even when you cremate a body, significant bones and dust remain. What do they do, throw away most of it and just send up a little bit of each person on their sattelite? Cremated remains can weigh upwards of two to five pounds. I'm wondering if this is all a scam, considering the high cost of burial space in certain geographical areas. In some places, a burial plot can cost even more than $11,000.
  • by skyhawker (234308) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:00PM (#8290198) Homepage
    No problem. Just get buried here on earth. Eventually, your wish will be granted. And since you're dead, the wait will be quite bearable. :-)
  • by calmdude (605711) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:01PM (#8290202)
    The phrase that is used is being "buried in space". Quite obviously, one cannot be literally buried in space. What they do is cremate and eject the remains into stellar space.

    I don't remember anyone saying Gene Roddenberry was buried in space....I wonder if he was the first person to voluntarily have his remains ejected into space.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:01PM (#8290203)
    ...burn in Uranus.
  • by TotallyUseless (157895) <.tot. .at. .mac.com.> on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:01PM (#8290204) Homepage Journal
    LSD Guru Tim Leary, Gene Roddenberry, and 22 others had their remains shot up into orbit in a capsule in 1997. The capsule was supposed to remain in orbit for around 18 months, then burn up on reentry into the atmosphere, for a double cremation!
  • Awesome (Score:5, Funny)

    by filtur (724994) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:01PM (#8290207) Homepage
    This would be a great way to test the Missle Defense System. I don't know about anyone else, but personally I wouldn't mind being put to rest in a big explosion at the cost to the U.S. taxpayer.
    • Re:Awesome (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cujo_1111 (627504) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:09PM (#8290265) Homepage Journal
      You wouldn't be the first, thousands of Japanese have already received this honour.
      • Re:Awesome (Score:3, Insightful)

        by moosesocks (264553)
        Who modded this as funny?

        This is something which most americans need to ponder seriously. Especially when you consider voting a trigger-happy president such as Bush into office.

        If any other country committed such an atrocity against another as the United States did to Japan, we would have World War 3 (it DID cause the cold war, but that's another story). Okay... Japan unsuccessfully attacked a naval base. We nuked two cities without warning, killing thousands.

        Not exactly something that deserves +5 fun
        • by rjh (40933) <rjh@sixdemonbag.org> on Sunday February 15, 2004 @11:59PM (#8290848)
          it DID cause the cold war

          More accurately, it kept the Cold War from becoming hot. The Cold War was going to happen regardless of whether we dropped a nuke or Martha Stewart on Hiroshima. The US and the USSR were (are) both ideologically expansionist powers, in that each wanted to see its ideology adopted by the rest of the world. When two expansionist powers come into conflict, there's going to be a cold war and most likely followed by a very hot one. Unless, of course, both sides know that a hot war would be a literal hell on earth, thus giving both sides a strong incentive to not start a hot war.

          Did we come close to nuclear war in the Cuba embargo? Damn straight. Why didn't we exchange nukes? Because both sides were reluctant to.

          For the first time in the history of the world, we've invented a weapon which has not been used for over fifty years. That has never happened before.

          I actually rather like the Bomb. It's a simple, one-question choice: are we as human beings morally developed enough to be allowed to continue existing?

          It's a one-question exam, scored pass or fail. So far, humanity has made the right choice. I think that's rather hopeful, myself.

          If any other country committed such an atrocity against another as the United States did to Japan, we would have World War 3

          I see. So we could either kill 250,000 Japanese (and several thousand Korean slave workers who were in Hiroshima when the Bomb hit, and several thousands of other nationalities, too) in two attacks so terrible, so catastrophic, so Wrath of God, that the Japanese surrendered... or we could go forward with Operation Olympic and kill millions of Japanese and millions of Americans.

          After the Nagasaki bomb hit, the Emperor was willing to surrender. Do you know what his aides' response to this was? They tried to murder him so that he wouldn't be able to surrender; and without an Emperor who could sign a surrender, it would've condemned Japan to decades of warfare. That's how hardcore, how serious, the Japanese generals, warmongers and militarists were: they wanted the world to end.

          By nuking two cities, the United States forced a surrender.

          Was dropping The Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki a war crime? I don't know. I genuinely don't know. No matter what arguments you make for it being a war crime, there are powerful and compelling arguments that not dropping The Bomb would have been a greater crime. And no matter what arguments you make in defense of The Bomb, you cannot argue away 250,000-plus people wiped out in an instant, their shadows etched onto the sides of buildings.

          I have no answers. I only appreciate the spectacular difficulty of the question. That you have found easy answers strongly suggests to me that you have no appreciation of the question.

          In the end, humanity is advanced more by people who have no answers than by people who have answers without understanding the questions.
          • By nuking two cities, the United States forced a surrender.

            In the 19th century civilian population centers and industry had become such an important part of a nation's ability to wage war that they were viewed as valid military targets. Some people use this belief as an argument that nuking those cities was okay. That still leaves the question of why we could not have selected a pure military site to nuke - the damage caused would not have been as great, but Japan would have been able to see what sort o

  • by JudgeFurious (455868) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:01PM (#8290209)
    Ok, so maybe that's a tad on the draconian side but seriously, do we actually want just anybody tossing trash into orbit for the vanity of people with more money than sense?

    Here's to a very fast bankruptcy for these guys.
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:02PM (#8290211)
    For those imagining yourself in a coffin in space, try again. Only 7 grams (less than 1/4 of an ounce) is sent up in the full version of their "Earthview" service, which involves a craft that projects the ashes out into "orbit" (not exactly one that can be tracked) while the craft itself vaporizes in the atmosphere. A discount version involves only one gram of ashes.

    Other services mention only a "symbolic portion", and its questionable whether they even exist. The only non-"Earthview" activity was purchasing a capsule on a NASA mission that was headed to the moon. I presume their deep space service would be offered the same way...
  • Bad idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:03PM (#8290219)
    So when Armageddon arrives and all those dead try to rise from their graves while orbiting some far-off celestial body, how's THAT gonna work? It's almost like these guys haven't thought this whole thing through very well.
  • Immortality (Score:4, Interesting)

    by digitalhermit (113459) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:05PM (#8290232) Homepage
    In a few billion years this little wet dustball of ours is going to disappear in a poof of smoke when good old Sol gets middle-aged (insert old fat guy joke here). I want my DNA sent in the other direction. I want my genes to land on some planet (or planets) throughout the galaxy and start new lifecycles. Damn right.
  • on a serious note... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by databeast (19718) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:08PM (#8290252) Homepage
    ..I've always thought that space burials are one of the best ways we have a shot at 'meeting' alien races.

    Yes, many of these coffin launches are going to get sucked up into solar gravity wells and burn up, but some are going to get caught in orbits around low-atmosphere bodies or other survivable situations.

    My thinking behind this? the universe isnt *that* old compared to its predicted total lifespan; humankind may indeed be one of the 'first races'. By the time enough life-bearing planets produce that cycle, humanity may already be several hundred million years extinct. But putting our 'relics' (ie our corpses) out into the void, where they may survive fairly intact for far longer (assuming they have the sense to vacuum-pack our corpsicles) we stand a fair chance that something out in the distant future is going to find one of these human relics, and if they havent watched enough sci-fi, probably resurrect the human race from our DNA :-)

    [seriously, blasting your corpse into space probably has more value to it than any current cyrogenics program, as far as the odds of you being resurrected go, the cost of maintenance,[hopefuly none] and value to the human race (lets face it, most of the people going into alcor drums we probably dont want back!)

    Certainly, I'd like to do this, on the condition that the launch params were sufficient to give me a good shot at escaping the sol system limits and not returning to ground as space-trash on one of our neighboring planets.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:08PM (#8290259)
    These guys [xprize.org] are willing to pay up to $10,000,000 of your funeral expenses, provided you get your corpse up there yourself!
  • by orthogonal (588627) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:12PM (#8290283) Journal
    Science seems convinced that in the early universe, only the elements with the lowest atomic weight -- hydrogen, helium, perhaps a few others -- existed.

    Denser elements come into being for millions of years, until the very oldest stars first burnt out, then re-ignited by burning heavy elements, until finally bursting in novas and flinging heavier elements out into the universe.

    After many many such novas, eventually enough of these heavier elements were produced to coalesce and form our sun and its planets. One of the heavier elements -- carbon, some 12 times heavier than fundamental element hydrogen -- conveniently arranges itself into the benzene rings of six atoms that are the scaffold for all Earthly life. It is because of this that Carl Sagan said that we were all made of star-stuff.

    And after all that work of billions of years to collect heavy elements here on Earth, you want to just throw away all that
    oxygen (65%); carbon (18%); hydrogen (10%); nitrogen (3%); calcium (1.5%); phosphorus (1.0%); potassium (0.35%); sulfur (0.25%); sodium (0.15%); magnesium (0.05%); copper, zinc, selenium, molybdenum, fluorine, chlorine, iodine, manganese, cobalt, iron (0.70%); lithium, strontium, aluminum, silicon, lead, vanadium, arsenic, bromine (trace amounts)
    by shooting it into space?

    Learn to recycle, fer cryin' out loud!
  • Fraud (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Obscenity (661594) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:12PM (#8290285) Homepage
    There is always the possibility, that your loved ones will not accually be sent up into space. If the company only TOLD you that your loved one got sent up into space, they could easily make a larger profit margin.
  • by mnmn (145599) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:18PM (#8290323) Homepage
    So everyone will want to send the whole of themselves (not just the egocentric parts), yet cut costs so embalming, clothing will be out of question.

    Maybe the geosync orbit will be a belt of zombies visible from the ground, from which dead bodies will occasionally whack the windows of the next space station.

    I'd much rather be thrown into the atmosphere, on the night side so people would see a shooting star and make a wish. Hopefully the shooting star will not reach the ground, now that would be messy.
  • Rip Off (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SisyphusShrugged (728028) <me AT igerard DOT com> on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:22PM (#8290347) Homepage
    Read the small print, they send a "symbolic portion" of the cremated body, that could be one speck of the ash, that way you can send up an unlimited number of bodies in one go, sounds like a license to print money to me!

    Another rip off is the name a star after you, listed at the bottom as part of the cheaper option, I have researched this name a star after you after hearing it on the radio and thinking about naming one after my girlfriend (she is into cosmology) but after researching it I discovered that all the people do is write the name down in a book that the company has, but the company has no right to name the star (only the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has the right to officially name celestial objects), so all you get is an expensive piece of paper ($50 and up) and here they are charging $300 bucks for that a digital broadcast!!

    Tom: No, actually, Helping Children Through Research And Development is the acronym, Mike. It stands for: Hi, Everyone, Let's Pitch In 'N' Get Cracking Here In Louisiana Doing Right, Eh? Now Then, Hateful, Rich, Overbearing Ugly Guys Hurt Royally Every Time Someone Eats A Radish, Carrot, Hors d'oeuvre, And Never Does Dishes. Eventually, Victor Eats Lunch Over Peoria Mit Ein Neuesberger Tod. .
  • Burn on the Sun? (Score:5, Informative)

    by FuzzyFurB (148573) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:25PM (#8290359) Homepage
    Technically if you wait long enough your body will burn on the sun. It is common knowledge that the sun is slowly increasing in size and will eventually (all be it in a LONG time from now) envelope the Earth. If you cryogenically freeze yourself your body won't be destroyed until that day comes. Why pay the extra $ to make it happen now? :)
  • Bah! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Spoing (152917) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:25PM (#8290363) Homepage
    1. Isn't this nice, like there is not enough garbage in space already...

    I don't think you understand the scale of things. Space...is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mind bogglingly big it is. I mean you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. [bbc.co.uk]

  • by read-only (35561) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:26PM (#8290369)
    Anybody know how the human body decays in space?

    Sorry for the gruesome question, but I'm curious.
    • by El_Ge_Ex (218107) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:55PM (#8290532) Journal
      Anybody know how the human body decays in space?

      Actually, the decompression would get you before you had the change to find out. You bones would hold up and maybe some of your muscles. Your other organs wouldn't be so lucky though.

      But hey, at least that part of you that somehow stays together will stay intact for the long haul. The cold of space would freeze it pretty quickly.

      -B
  • by Phil John (576633) <phil@webstars l t d .com> on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:30PM (#8290393)
    ...it's Season 1, ep 20, Elegy.

    Astronauts land on a planet with lots of scenes from various periods of history but everyone there seem to be frozen in time, it's actually a great big cemetery planet where the rich have their bodies sent to live out eternity.
  • Not ambitious enough (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eric Smith (4379) * <eric@brouha[ ]com ['ha.' in gap]> on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:31PM (#8290403) Homepage Journal
    I want to burn in the Sun
    I want to outlive the sun. Maybe in not exactly the same manner as the protagonist of Charles Sheffield's novel "Tomorrow and Tomorrow", though.

    Or maybe burning in the sun wouldn't be so bad. There was another novel whose author and title I can't recall at the moment, in which one of the characters was a human transformed into an entity that could in fact survive in the sun. She discovered that there were intelligent creatures living there that were taking actions apparently designed to shorten the sun's life.

  • by jebiester (589234) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:40PM (#8290446)
    This was already done for Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek founder) in 1997. Just a shame the ashes weren't brought up in the Enterprise.

    There's a old CNN article on it here [cnn.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:46PM (#8290485)
    Years from now, i can see a space rover, digging up bodies on venus thinking "holy god, there was life here once"...
  • by WormholeFiend (674934) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @10:50PM (#8290501)
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3473103.stm

    Swedes offer freeze-dry burials
    The environmentally-conscientious could soon ensure they don't end up polluting the earth after they die, thanks to a company in Sweden.
    Concerns about the environmental impact of embalming fluids or cremation have led Promessa Organic to come up with a chilling alternative.

    Their method involves freeze-drying the corpse in liquid nitrogen.

    Sound vibrations then shatter the brittle remains into a powder that can be "returned to the ecological cycle".

    Biologist and head of Promessa Organic Susanne Wiigh-Maesak said she hoped to promote environmental and existential awareness.

    "Our ecological burial reduces environmental impact on some of our most important resources; our water, air and soil," she explains on her company website.

    "At the same time it provides us with deeper insights regarding the ecological cycle, and greater understanding of and respect for life on earth."

    Compost

    After the freezing process, the odourless powdery remains are laid in a coffin made of corn starch and buried in a shallow grave.

    Ms Wiigh-Maesak says the soil "turns the coffin and its contents into compost in about six months" which means relatives can then plant a bush or tree on the spot.

    The method is based upon preserving the body in a biological form after death, while avoiding harmful embalming fluid
    Susanne Wiigh-Maesak,
    Promessa Organic

    "The compost formed can then be taken up by the plant... The plant stands as a symbol of the person, and we understand where the body went," she said.
    Ms Wiigh-Maesak says she would very much like to become a white rhododendron.

    The company has applied for a patent on her method in 35 countries.

    Ms Wiigh-Maesak said the authorities in Joenkoeping, 328 km (204 miles) south-west of Stockholm, were ready to start operating its first freeze-drying facility in the next couple of years.

    The head of cemetery administration in Joenkoeping said younger people were keen on the idea as "green burials" are becoming popular in Sweden.
  • by darnok (650458) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @11:07PM (#8290607)
    ...wondering how a person can be *buried* in *space*?

    Do mourners get to sprinkle a bit of space on the "grave"?
  • by oobob (715122) * on Sunday February 15, 2004 @11:08PM (#8290608)
    I first read about this in Newsweek a few years ago. Tim Leary and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry (I assume that's redundant here) already blasted off, as have a handful of others, including Princeton University physicist Gerard O'Neill, and SEDS and ISU co-founder Todd Hawley. The article [howstuffworks.com] describes a 2001 mission:

    "For the Encounter 2001 mission, Celestis will place cremated remains into personalized flight capsules that can hold approximately one-quarter ounce (7 grams) of ashes. They will then load these capsules into a canister attached to the upper stage engine. The Encounter 2001 will initially travel into Earth's geosynchronous transfer orbit, an orbit primarily used by communications satellites. When the craft reaches the optimal point in its orbit, ground control will send a command to fire the spacecraft's solid-fuel rocket motor, propelling the spacecraft towards Jupiter. About two years later, the tiny spaceship will fly by Jupiter, using the planet's gravity to propel itself outside the solar system."

    Given that a typical funeral costs around $7,000 [funeralplan.com], the price doesn't seem too steep. Save a little more, skip the visitation, and get yourself a rocket.

    -Oobob
  • by sielwolf (246764) * on Sunday February 15, 2004 @11:10PM (#8290624) Homepage Journal
    Screw shooting me into the Sun, shoot me to the moon on the non-Dark Side. That way generations of my progeny can look up on a starless night and see my cold grimacing corpse smiling down on them.

    Yes!
  • by Marvelicious (752980) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @11:22PM (#8290693)
    "For those imagining yourself in a coffin in space, try again. Only 7 grams (less than 1/4 of an ounce) is sent up in the full version of their "Earthview" service, which involves a craft that projects the ashes out into "orbit" (not exactly one that can be tracked) while the craft itself vaporizes in the atmosphere. A discount version involves only one gram of ashes."
    So, the way I see it, I can save 7 grams worth of pubic hair and toenail clippings and send it into space with this outfit and live on in the stars while I'm still here! Not to mention already living on in the city sewer, my girlfriends sheets, etc...
  • Trash in space (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @11:31PM (#8290742) Homepage
    Trash in space is going to become a much more serious issue once spacetravel becomes commercialized.

    If anybody is interested in an anime which deals with this issue, I HIGHLY recommend Planet ES [animenfo.com]. It deals with a salaryman in space who works as a space debris collector (futuristic garbageman). Apparently space trash is a HUGE problem in the series, and even a tiny screw floating out in space can kill if its moving fast enough. Very interesting. I wonder how closely our future will mirror this.

  • by shawn(at)fsu (447153) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @11:40PM (#8290774) Homepage
    "I want to burn in the Sun (or at least the egomaniacal part of me.)"

    You can do that for free, just wait about 5 billion years.
  • Mars landing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dialsoft (255071) on Monday February 16, 2004 @12:15AM (#8290910)
    I think that it would be great to be buried in space with a trajectory towards a planet that one day you will be either discovered there or your dna or whatever part of your decomposed body could contribute to the evolution of life on that planet in 22342342 million years.

    rock on
  • by penguinland (632330) on Monday February 16, 2004 @12:38AM (#8291033)
    So here's a question: Let's say that this company launches someone's remains into orbit. 200 years later, we discover what appears to be burned organic matter floating through our solar system. How do we know if it's from this company? How do we know if it came from another planet that could have life on it? This is the same sort of reasoning that led us to crash the Galileo probe into Jupiter: so we don't contaminate other parts of space with terrestrial stuff. IMHO, this company is not thinking ahead, and making a huge mistake. What do others think (preferably others who know more about this than I do)?
  • You can sign up with www.Alcor.org for a cryonics contract for only 50K (fundable through life insurance payments) and get a chance at a future revival.

    And if revived in the distant future, you can ride in a spaceship and look out the window at all those 100K space caskets roaming around space.

    Myself, I prefer a chance at life to a certain death....

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray

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