Celestis is the Texas-based company that has been putting cremated remains into space for many years. This is a kind of space memorial for wealthy clients who want to leave a piece of themselves in space. In 1997, they sent the remains to Earth’s orbit of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and scientific scientist Gerard O’Neill, who developed a space housing project known as the “O’Neill cylinder”.
Celestis customers have a variety of motives for taking their remains into space. Recently, the New York Times reported on seven individuals who signed a contract with Celestis to create their space memorials.
Not science fiction
An 86-year-old physics professor, Kenneth Ohm, wished for his DNA to be delivered to the South Pole of the Moon during one of the following missions. He hopes that future civilizations will one day open a capsule with the ashes of a scientist and be able to clone him so that “thousands of regenerated Ken Ohms will be formed, which will scatter throughout the Universe”.
Of course, the scientist’s proposal is perceived as if it is jokingly inspired by an episode from the TV series “Rick and Morty”, because the very idea of preserving DNA for study by future civilizations may seem absurd. However, there are already technologies in the world for cloning animals based on their DNA. Although human cloning has ethical and moral aspects, it is not science fiction.
Other Celestis clients have a more romantic purpose. For example, firefighter Daniel Conlisk wants his remains to be sent into space with his wife suffering from late-stage cancer. Aerospace engineer Jeffrey Woytach, inspired by the Apollo mission as a child, wants his ashes to fall on the surface of the Moon.
Unfortunately, the date of Celestis’ return to the Moon is not known yet. The company’s first “lunar memorial service”, the NASA Lunar Prospector mission, was launched in January 1998. The capsule with the ashes fell to the surface of the Moon inside a permanently shadowed crater about a year and a half later. The capsule carried on board part of the remains of the famous planetary geologist Eugene Shoemaker.
Tranquility‘s next mission is closed for booking for now. The capsule, created in partnership with Astrobotic, the developer of the Peregrine lunar lander, is due to land in the northeastern part of the Moon after being launched by United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket, which is due to complete its first test flight on Christmas Day.
“The Celestis memorial capsules carrying cremated remains and DNA will remain on the lunar surface as a permanent tribute to the intrepid souls who never stopped reaching for the stars,” the company’s website says.
Earlier we reported how the hearse rocket exploded a few seconds after launch.
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