You may never fulfill your childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, but now, a San Francisco-based company called Elysium Space can help you visit the moon—when you’re dead.
Elysium Space has created small metallic cubes that serve as a sort of space age urn. Cremated remains can be stored in the cubes and will be sent to the moon’s surface with the help of Astrobotic Technology in Pittsburgh (their Griffin Lander will make for a soft landing) and SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
The first 50 reservations for a lunar eternal slumber will each cost $9,950, and anyone after that will have to pay $2,000 more. That might seem exorbitant, but funerals tend to average anywhere between $7,000 and $10,000, which means the moon memorial is pretty normal, cost-wise.
The honor of the very first 'burial' will go to the mother of Steve Jenks, who died recently after a battle with cancer. Jenks, an Iraq war infantryman, kept in touch with his mom by writing letters. She always ended hers with: “No matter how lonely you feel and how far you are, always look at the Moon and know I am with you. I love you to the Moon and back.”
Elysium Space also offers a Shooting Star Memorial, in which the remains will be sent into low-Earth orbit and then return to Earth to “end this celestial journey as a shooting star.” The Milky Way Memorial takes the opposite approach, sending capsules into deep space. Clyde Tombaugh—the astronomer who discovered Pluto—is the first to have that honor, as his remains are aboard NASA’s New Horizons probe.
For anyone considering this new frontier of final resting places, rest assured it’s all above board. Astrobotic has a grant from the Office of Commercial Space Transportation.