Space undertakers have revealed plans to send human ashes to the Moon – with the help of private rocket companies, one based on the Isle of Man off the coast of England.
The memorial flights are being organised by US company Celestis who have already put human ashes into orbit around the Earth.
They included Scotty from Star Trek James Doohan, the show’s creator Gene Roddenberry and pioneer astronaut Gordon Cooper.
The firm now plans to add ashes to the lunar landers being built by British-based Odyssey Moon and a private US space firm Astrobotic Technology.
Both companies are competing in a £15 million contest sponsored by Google to land a privately-funded probe on the Moon and perform a range of tasks by 2012.
Celestis chiefs say their dead passengers will actually help the missions – dubbed Luna 02 and Luna 03 – by providing ballast to stabilise the spacecraft.
They already have some experience in lunar memorials. In 1998, they provided a capsule to carry cremated remains of comet expert Eugene Shoemaker aboard Nasa’s Lunar Prospector mission.
After one year in orbit, the probe was deliberately crashed, making the scientist the first to be laid to rest on another world.
Celestis founder Charles M. Chafer said: “We are pleased to schedule these Luna Service missions to serve our global community of families and loved ones wishing to honour the life of a special person.”
Odyssey Moon is a mainly Canadian team that has based itself in Douglas to take advantage of tax breaks and other incentives offered to attract space entrepreneurs.
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