Dave Reneke | Want to be cremated in space? You can.

AIMING HIGH: Money may not buy happiness, but it can buy you a ticket to space.
Image: space albator.
AIMING HIGH: Money may not buy happiness, but it can buy you a ticket to space. Image: space albator.

Well, Christmas is less than 10 weeks away and you’ll be looking for that last minute gift idea? Something different for the person who has everything.

What about the gift of space?

It’s the latest fad and its appeal has been out of this world, literally!

It could backfire but here’s one you probably wouldn’t have thought of: what about the gift of a space burial?

“We’re talking about the launching of cremated remains into outer space being offered by a few companies like Celestis and Elysium Space,” said Dave Reneke from Australasian Science magazine.

“From all accounts sales have been taking off like a rocket! Sorry, couldn’t resist.”

Your loved ones ashes are sealed inside lipstick sized containers inside the spacecraft until it reaches orbit then burns up upon re-entry.

Alternatively, if you pay a little bit more, you can remain on board until it escapes the solar system completely! The first service starts at around the $2,500 mark, with the deep space option going for $12,500.

“The process is simple and completed with the utmost respect and care,” Dave said.

“A portion of cremated remains is carefully loaded into the Celestis spacecraft and attached to the launch vehicle. It’s the ultimate post script for the space nerd in your life!”

On launch day families gather at the liftoff site to share the experience of seeing their loved ones’ dreams of spaceflight realized.

With a roar and a fiery streak across the sky, the rocket lifts its precious load higher and higher into the peaceful solitude of space.

Memories of the flight participants’s lives are shared among friends and family at the pre-launch memorial service and preserved on the keepsake video or DVD which is included in the service.

fterwards the company provides a professionally produced DVD of the entire event as a keepsake to be shared among family members.

“Sound way out? Sure, but as they say, hold your money – there’s more,” Dave said.

“Celestis soon expects to be able to send ‘participants,’ as the remains are called, to the surface of the Moon, starting at $9,995.”

The dead who have been beamed up include James Doohan, who played Scotty in Star Trek, and the creator of Star Trek himself, Gene Roddenberry.

Celestis flights have honoured the lives of people from the US, Japan, Great Britain, Denmark, The Netherlands, Argentina, Canada, China, and Germany.

So here’s the question: would you like to be the first Aussie?

Dave Reneke is an astronomer, lecturer and senior writer for Australian Science Magazine