Consider the history of mankind’s ritual death ceremonies, perhaps having your loved ones shot into space doesn’t qualify anywhere near the oddest or most elaborate, yet in this day and age folks can now arrange funerals centered around the event. Elysium Space, a San Francisco funeral home offers a number of space-based funerals to memorialize the lives of those most near and dear to us.
From their website, Elysium (named after the Greek Elysian Fields) the company says about its services:
“Imagine an everlasting memorial where family and friends can commemorate their departed loved ones anytime and anywhere. Instead of looking down upon the earth in reminiscence, we can raise our eyes to the eternal wonders within the night sky, knowing that our loved ones are always with us. Elysium Space offers its awe-inspiring celestial services to provide a connective experience for families and friends, creating a new sacred space for remembrance and an eternal memorial for those we love. By looking into the infinite beauty of the night sky, we can remember the beauty of those who have touched our lives forever.”
If that sounds a little bit dramatic, then consider how the Greeks conceived of Elysium:
“The good receive a life free from toil, not scraping with the strength of their arms the earth, nor the water of the sea, for the sake of a poor sustenance. But in the presence of the honored gods, those who gladly kept their oaths enjoy a life without tears, while the others undergo a toil that is unbearable to look at. Those who have persevered three times, on either side, to keep their souls free from all wrongdoing, follow Zeus’ road to the end, to the tower of Cronus, where ocean breezes blow around the island of the blessed, and flowers of gold are blazing, some from splendid trees on land, while water nurtures others. With these wreaths and garlands of flowers they entwine their hands according to the righteous counsels of Rhadamanthys, whom the great father, the husband of Rhea whose throne is above all others, keeps close beside him as his partner” (Pindar, Odes (2.59–75))
For those that are interested but worried that the cost may be too high, an average funeral runs around $9000, and the cost of shooting your loved one into space is only $2,490. How does it work? The company takes a portion of the cremated remains, and then shoots them into space where telemetry reports its location and journey. Not only that, but loved ones can download an app that gives them instant updates on the satellite’s trajectory delivered right to their mobile phone. As word gets out more and more people are interested in memorializing their loved ones this way. With more and more companies jumping on the band wagon, it looks like burial by space is here to stay.