By now many of you who are old Star Trek fans will have heard the news that James Doohan’s (Scotty’s) ashes have made it into space. And I bet some of you are thinking neat, and I’d like to put my own ashes into space.
But not all articles have explored the totality of this end of life adventure. The ashes are only meant to stay in space for about a year. After that time they are expected to break out of orbit and burn up on reentry to Earth.
SpaceX and cohorts, who put Doohan’s ashes into space, charges about $3000 per gram of ash sent into space. At about 2 kg of ash per full human left after cremation, SpaceX and cohorts are charging $6 000 000 per full human’s ashes sent up there (is there new meaning to the phrase ‘6 million dollar man’?). This is quite a lucrative business.
Perhaps there is a cheaper way of reburning ashes and spreading them around the world? How about reburning them with a welding torch, fusion experiments or blasting them with a particle accelerator. Then a humble plane could spread around the world anything that is left. I’m sure there are less costly alternatives with results the same.
Fine, you want to actually go to space in death if you haven’t done it in life. James Doohan did manage this feat.
But hopefully I will die much later than James Doohan. Hopefully private spacecraft keep expanding their capabilities and on my death, I will be able to send my ashes outside of Earth orbit and preferably out of the solar system altogether.
Then at last the Star Trek Dream will be mine. To boldly go where no man has gone before.