Space burial

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Space burials launch cremated remains out of the atmosphere.

Space burial refers to the blasting of cremated remains into outer space. Missions may go into orbit around the Earth, to other planetary bodies (such as the Moon), or into deep space.

The cremated remains are not actually scattered in space, and thus do not contribute to space debris. Instead, the ashes remain sealed inside their spacecraft until the spacecraft either: re-enters the Earth's atmosphere and burns up upon re-entry (Earth orbit missions); reaches its final, extraterrestrial destination (e.g. the Moon); or escapes the solar system (deep space missions). To a lesser extent, suborbital flights provide the opportunity to briefly fly ashes into space and return them back to Earth for recovery. Only a sample of remains is launched so as to make the service affordable.

History and Typology[edit]

The concept of launching remains into space using conventional rockets was proposed by the science fiction author Neil R. Jones in the novella "The Jameson Satellite," which was published in the pulp magazine Amazing Stories in 1931.[1] It was later proposed as a commercial service in the 1965 movie, "The Loved One,"[2] and by Richard DeGroot in a Seattle Times newspaper article on April 3, 1977.[3] Since 1997, the private company Celestis has conducted numerous space burials flying as secondary payloads.[4]

Gene Roddenberry (third from the right) in 1976 with most of the cast of Star Trek at the rollout of the Space Shuttle Enterprise at the Rockwell International plant at Palmdale, California, USA

First Flights

The first space burial occurred in 1992 when the NASA space shuttle Columbia (mission STS-52) carried a portion of Gene Roddenberry's cremated remains into space and returned them to Earth.[5]

The first private space burial, Celestis' Earthview 01: The Founders Flight, was launched on April 21, 1997. An aircraft, departing from the Canary Islands, carried a Pegasus rocket containing samples of the remains of 24 people to an altitude of 11 km (38,000 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean. The rocket then carried the remains into an elliptical orbit with an apogee of 578 km (359 mi) and a perigee of 551 km (342 mi), orbiting the Earth once every 96 minutes until reentry on May 20, 2002, northeast of Australia. Famous people on this flight included Gene Roddenberry and Timothy Leary.[6]

Suborbital flights

Short flights that cross the boundary of space without attempting to reach orbital velocity are a cost-effective method of space burial. The remains do not burn up and are either recovered or lost.

Moon Burials

The first moon burial was that of Dr. Eugene Shoemaker, a portion of whose cremated remains were flown to the Moon by NASA.[7] Shoemaker's former colleague Carolyn Porco, a University of Arizona professor, proposed and produced the tribute of having Shoemaker's ashes launched aboard the NASA's Lunar Prospector spacecraft.[8] Ten days after Shoemaker's passing, Porco had the go-ahead from NASA administrators and delivered the ashes to the Lunar Prospector Mission Director Scott Hubbard at the NASA Ames Research Center.[7][9] The ashes were accompanied by a piece of brass foil inscribed with an image of a Comet Hale-Bopp, an image of Meteor Crater in northern Arizona, and a passage from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.[7] The Lunar Prospector spacecraft was launched on January 6, 1998 and impacted the south polar region of the moon on July 31, 1999.[10]

Upcoming missions are proposed by both Elysium Space[11] and Celestis as part of an upcoming mission by Astrobotic Technology of Pittsburgh.

Pet Burials

In 2014, Celestis launched Celestis Pets, a pet memorial spaceflight service for animal cremated remains.[12] Prior to then, a Monroe, Washington police dog may have flown on a 2012 memorial spaceflight. When this news broke, Celestis' President said that if dog ashes were on the rocket, the person who supplied the cremated remains likely violated the contract they signed with Celestis.[13]

Dedicated Spacecraft

On May 17, 2017, Elysium Space announced the world's first memorial flight involving a dedicated spacecraft. The cubesat will be placed as a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as part of a dedicated rideshare mission called SSO-A planned by Spaceflight. The launch will take place from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Spaceflight history[edit]

Orbital[edit]

Launch Date Mission Provider Launch Vehicle Destination Remains Samples Results
2010~
2018[14] Elysium Space Falcon 9 Earth orbit Remains Samples Planned
November 3, 2015 Elysium Space SPARK Earth orbit Remains Samples Failure
December 5, 2014 NASA Delta IV Heavy Earth orbit Remains sample of NASA Orion engineer[15] Success
May 22, 2012 Celestis Falcon 9 Earth orbit Over 300 Remains Samples[16][17] Success
2000-2009
August 2, 2008 Celestis Falcon 1 Earth orbit Over 200 Remains Samples[18] Failure
September 21, 2001 Celestis Taurus rocket Earth orbit 43 Remains Samples[19] Failure
1990-1999
December 20, 1999 Celestis Taurus rocket Earth orbit 36 Remains Samples[20] Success
February 10, 1998 Celestis Taurus rocket Earth orbit 30 Remains Samples[21] Success
April 21, 1997 Celestis Pegasus rocket Earth orbit 24 Remains Samples[6] Success
October 22, 1992 NASA Space Shuttle Columbia Earth orbit Remains sample of Gene Roddenberry[5] Success

Moon[edit]

Launch Date Mission Provider Launch Vehicle Destination Remains Samples Results
2010~
2018[22] Elysium Space Falcon 9 Lunar surface Remain Samples Planned
Not available[23] Celestis Details not available Lunar surface Remain Samples Planned
1990-1999
January 6, 1998 NASA Athena II/Lunar Prospector Lunar surface Remains sample of Eugene Shoemaker[7][10] Success

Deep Space[edit]

Launch Date Mission Provider Launch Vehicle Destination Remains Samples Results
2000~2009
January 19, 2006 NASA Atlas V/New Horizons Deep space Remains sample of Clyde Tombaugh[24] Success

Suborbital[edit]

Launch Date Mission Provider Launch Vehicle Remains Samples Results
2010~
October 23, 2014 Celestis SpaceLoft XL 24 Remains Samples[25] Success
June 21, 2013 Celestis SpaceLoft XL 31 Remains Samples[26] Success
May 20, 2011 Celestis SpaceLoft XL Over 8 Remains Samples[27] Success
May 4, 2010 Celestis SpaceLoft XL Over 19 Remains Samples[28] Success
2000-2009
May 2, 2009 Celestis SpaceLoft XL 16 Remains Samples[29] Failure
April 28, 2007 Celestis SpaceLoft XL Over 200 Remains Samples[30] Success
September 29, 2004 Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne Remains sample of the mother of SpaceShipOne's designer, Burt Rutan.[31] Success

Notable individuals buried in space[edit]

James Doohan (left) visiting NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center with pilot Bruce Peterson April 13, 1967 in front of the Northrop M2-F2.

Launched into Earth orbit[edit]

L. Gordon Cooper

Buried on the Moon[edit]

Launched into outer space[edit]

  • Clyde Tombaugh (February 4, 1906 – January 17, 1997), American astronomer and discoverer of Pluto in 1930. A small sample of Tombaugh's ashes are aboard New Horizons, the first spacecraft to attempt to pass by and photograph Pluto. This is the first sample of human cremated remains which will escape the solar system to travel among the stars.[24]

Future space burials[edit]

Leiji Matsumoto at a book signing event in 2014

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Jameson Satellite" (Amazing Stories, July 1931; Amazing Stories, April 1956 (reprint); Ace Books collection #1, 1967.
  2. ^ goodgoodbye.com/film-and-video-reviews/funeral-films-the-loved-one/
  3. ^ John Hinterberger: The Seattle Times Sunday Magazine, page 3, April 3, 1977.
  4. ^ "Celetis Launch Manifest". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Shuttle bore Roddenberry's ashes". Rome News-Tribune. April 29, 1994. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Celestis Memorial Spaceflights – The Founders Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d Stiles, Lorie. "Eugene Shoemaker Ashes Carried on Lunar Prospector". UA News Services, University of Arizona. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  8. ^ Porco, Carolyn. "The Eugene M. Shoemaker Tribute". Diamond Sky Productions. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  9. ^ Porco, Carolyn C. (February 2000). "Destination Moon". Astronomy. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Williams, David. "Lunar Prospector". NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  11. ^ Clark, Liat. "This startup will send your loved one's ashes to the Moon". WIRED UK. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  12. ^ http://www.celestispets.com/
  13. ^ Rikki King (May 24, 2012). "Dog's ashes may have been sneaked on to space flight". Everett Herald. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
  14. ^ Kharpal, Arjun (2017-05-17). "You can send your loved one's ashes into space on Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket for $2,500". CNBC. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  15. ^ "Man's remains travel to space with NASA's Orion". wtop.com. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  16. ^ Moskowitz, Clara (May 22, 2012). "Ashes of Star Trek's 'Scotty' Ride Private Rocket into Space". New York: Space.com. Archived from the original on May 22, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  17. ^ a b "The New Frontier Memorial Spaceflight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  18. ^ a b "Celestis Memorial Spaceflights – The Explorers Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  19. ^ "Celestis Memorial Spaceflights – The Odyssey Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  20. ^ a b "Celestis Memorial Spaceflights – The Millennial Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  21. ^ "Celestis Memorial Spaceflights – The Ad Astra Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  22. ^ "Elysium Space | Launch Schedule". elysiumspace.com. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  23. ^ "Luna 02 Flight | Memorial Spaceflights". www.celestis.com. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  24. ^ a b "NASA Launches Spacecraft on the First Mission to Pluto – New York Times". NewYorkTimes. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  25. ^ "Celestis Memorial Spaceflights – The Conestoga Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  26. ^ "Celestis Memorial Spaceflights – The Centennial Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  27. ^ "Celestis Memorial Spaceflights – The Goddard Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  28. ^ "Celestis Memorial Spaceflights – The Pioneer Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  29. ^ "Celestis Memorial Spaceflights – The Discovery Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  30. ^ "Celestis Memorial Spaceflights – Legacy Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  31. ^ "SpaceShipOne takes wild suborbital flight". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  32. [[#cite_ref-CelestisGene�Roddenberry_32-0|^]] "Gene Roddenberry – Participant on board The Founders Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  33. ^ "Gerald K. O'Neil – Participant on board The Founders Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  34. ^ "Krafft A. Ehricke – Participant on board The Founders Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  35. ^ "Timothy Francis Leary – Participant on board The Founders Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  36. ^ "Charles Oren Bennett – Participant on board The Millennial Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  37. ^ "James M. Doohan – Celestis New Frontier Flight Participant". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  38. ^ "James M. Doohan – Participant on board The Legacy Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  39. ^ a b Celestis – The Legacy flight
  40. ^ "James M. Doohan – Participant on board The Explorers Flight". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  41. ^ "Luna Flight 01 – Celestis Memorial Spaceflights". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  42. ^ "Launch of Eugene Shoemaker on First Celestis Luna Mission". CelestisInc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  43. ^ http://elysiumspace.com/ja/product/shooting-star-memorial-jp/
  44. ^ a b c "Celestis Memorial Spaceflights -- Participants in Future Flights". CelestisInc. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  45. ^ "Gene & Majel Roddenberry - Participants on board a Future Celestis Memorial Spaceflight". CelestisInc. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  46. ^ "William Reid Pogue - Participant on board a Future Celestis Memorial Spaceflight". CelestisInc. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  47. ^ "Luise Clayborn Kaish - Participant on board a Future Celestis Memorial Spaceflight". CelestisInc. Retrieved May 19, 2015.

External links[edit]