To boldly go..

There's no way you'll get a sample this big sent up, nurse!

So, Majel Barret Roddenberry's ashes are going to be launched into space with husband Gene's. Hmm. Majel, better known as Nurse Christine Chapel from Star Trek (note not "classic" Star Trek or "original" Star Trek it's just "Star Trek"), died last month at the age of 78. Oddly, most of Gene had already been blasted into space but some had been held back for just this occasion so they could boldly go together. This is an interesting concept. Perhaps we could reserve a few teaspoons of ourselves to be distributed amongst our official companions around the world. Actually, we have always been keen on a Viking ship-borne immolation (even if it's not very authentic) at sea but also like the idea of being buried with a bizarre selection of grave goods to fox future archeologists. We would love our Baywatch Barbie being interpreted as a scale model of a loved one. Perhaps in the case of Swedish A is wouldn't be too far off.

Cool rocket (a Taurus) though
Anyway, Celestis, the firm behind this idea, only ever launches between 1 and 7 grammes of ashes per person due to weight considerations. If it crashes before reaching orbit (like the one with Star Trek's Mr Scott, James Doohan did a couple of years ago) they just dig out another gramme or so and put it in the next launch. The rocket orbits the earth for a somewhere between 2 and 240 years and them plummets back to Earth when the orbit degrades disappearing in the atmosphere (a cremated creamation).

Frankly, we would only sign up for this sort of thing if we were guaranteed to fly ever deeper into space with the possibility of being discovered by new life and new civilisations. Well, it turns out that they are planning this for next year at a cost of $12,500 per gramme. They have also blasted one onto the moon on a NASA probe in 1999 with a few grammes of Dr Eugene Shoemaker (a space expert we remember from the James Burke days of Moon landing TV) on board and plan to do more next year by putting capsules aboard a couple of privately funded moon probes for only $9,995. The cheapy orbital option is a bargain $2,495. I wonder how many grammes they can get on one launcher?

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