burial in spaceYou may have noticed that for the first time in around 10 years of writing this blog, that there haven’t been any posts for a couple of months. There were lots of things happening late last year, including the winding up of my old chambers and the move to new ones at Queen’s Square. Unfortunately blogging became a lower priority for a short time. However, 2024 is a new year and an opportunity for a fresh start.

However, those circumstances and a recent article I read in The Conversation gave me the idea for this post. You may remember the intricacies of being buried at sea? If that is not adventurous enough for you, perhaps you should consider a “burial” in space or even on the moon? One of the controversies surrounding NASA’s recent failed Peregrine moon (non-) lander  was that amongst it’s payload were the ashes of Arthur C Clarke (the scifi writer). This sparked protests from the Navajo people who believe the moon to be sacred and oppose its use as a memorial site. There are numerous other issues to consider:

  • no-one owns the moon (and no-one has authority to grant burial rights);
  • there is an Outer Space Treaty which makes space the “province of all mankind”. Of course, the treaty doesn’t deal with what commercial operators can do;
  • domestic law could make things difficult. Apparently it is the law in Germany that ashes have to be buried in a cemetery; and
  • in Australia and NZ, there is law which refuses space payloads that are not in their national interest. Hmmmm – ashes?

Notwithstanding all of the above, the US company Celestis offers a number of memorial spaceflight services for you or a loved one. For US$2995 your ashes can be launched to space and returned to earth. For US$12,995 your ashes or DNA could be launched to lunar orbit (or the surface of the moon) or sent into deep space. My personal preference is to carry “the cremated remains or DNA into orbit where it remains until it re-enters the atmosphere, harmlessly vaporizing like a shooting star in final tribute“. This service is from US$4,995 and of course there is an app where you track the progress of the mission. 

Welcome to 2024.

Creative commons acknowledgment for the photograph.

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