The US company which last year blasted the remains of Star Trek actor James Doohan on a quick rocket-propelled Earth-orbit jaunt has announced it will be offering an "ashes-to-the-Moon" service as soon as 2009.
The actual delivery will be carried out by Odyssey Moon Limited and Astrobotic Technology, Inc - both of whom are in the private lunar mission business and plan to put robotic landers on the surface. The cremated remains capsules will be attached to the landers and remain on the Moon at the end of the missions.
Celestis founder and president Charles M Chafer said of the new venture: "We are pleased to schedule these Luna Service missions, to extend our leadership in the commercial space industry, and - most importantly - to serve our global community of families and loved ones wishing to honour the life of a special person."
Celestis got into the space funeral business back in 1997, and has since conducted six "memorial spaceflights" using Pegasus rockets. Passengers have included Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper and, of course, "Scotty", whose trip was rather longer than expected after the capsule containing his and other remains went temporarily AWOL on its return to Earth. ®