spaceSpace and Physics

You Can Now Send Your Remains To The Moon

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Caroline Reid

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1994 You Can Now Send Your Remains To The Moon
A good resting spot? The moon looms over the Earth. Andy Mudrak/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

Popping to the Moon to stay in a lunar hotel isn't a viable holiday option yet. But until commercial space travel does kick off, you can instead have your remains sent to the Moon to the join the ranks of the twelve astronauts that have walked on its surface. This might not be quite the same as experiencing space travel first hand but it's the best option most of us have got, short of applying to be an astronaut.

Elysium Space, which specializes in memorial spaceflights, will be setting up the first ever lunar memorial service. It will give anyone willing to pay almost $12,000 (£7,600) the opportunity to have a small portion of their remains sent to the Moon in a little box and left there, eternally watching over the Earth. The first 50 participants will receive a $2000 (£1,270) discount, so be quick if you want to secure a bargain price spot. 


In order to send the remains up into space, Elysium will use a Falcon 9 vehicle – one of SpaceX's rockets – to send its memorials into space aboard the Griffin Lander. But don't start sending your cheques in just yet – SpaceX has not confirmed the date of the lunar mission yet. 

Two organizations have sent human remains into space to date: NASA and a memorial spaceflight company Celestis, which has sent samples into Earth's orbit. But only one person so far has had their remains sent to the Moon: Dr Eugene Shoemaker, co-discoverer of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, whose remains were included by NASA on its Lunar Prospector mission in 1999.

Elysium Space offers three options for sending memorials into space. If going out with a bang is a bit more your style, then you can have your remains dropped into low Earth orbit. Gravity and the atmosphere then do the rest of the work. Your remains will burn up in the atmosphere as a shooting star.

The second option is to have your remains reach the Moon. Remains aren't buried since this would require more advanced and costly technologies, so they are just left on the surface in capsules. The capsules are small, metallic cubes that will either be launched into the orbit of the Moon or allowed to soft-land on the surface.


The third and loneliest option is to have your remains sent in a probe into outer space. Who knows where your remains will end up? It will be a long voyage. One person's remains have already left the Solar System: those of Clyde Tombaugh, the American astronomer who discovered Pluto. His ashes were carried in the New Horizons spacecraft that flew past Pluto last July. 

It could be a bit of a wait before the first lunar memorial – Elysium Space's first lunar mission isn't scheduled yet, and neither is the first deep space flight.

Featured Image: Andy Mudrak/Flickr.


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