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A memorial company known as Ascension Flights is offering people the chance to be laid to rest away from Earth.
The company will use a helium high-altitude weather balloon to deliver the ashes into the stars, where it will reach a maximum altitude of around 35 kilometres – the point where the stratosphere, the second top level of Earth’s atmosphere, begins.
Ascension says this is officially in “near space” as it is beyond the Armstrong limit of 19 kilometres high.
The company says: “As the particles eventually return to Earth, precipitation will form around them creating raindrops and snowflakes.
“Small amounts of nutritious chemicals will stimulate plant growth wherever it lands.
“In this way, your loved one’s earthly remains will become a part of the cycles which create and sustain life on our planet.
“The temperature varies greatly throughout inner space, from highs of 50 celsius and lows of -120. At 100,000 feet, temperature hovers around -60 celsius.
“At the moment of release, any microscopic water droplets remaining in the ashes freeze instantly, creating a beautiful glittering cascade.”
The company is offering three packages: at £795, the ashes scatter at 100,000 feet.
For £1,895, the ashes will scatter at 115,000 and relatives can have a high definition video of the scattering.
And for £2,795, you are offered the same as the previous package, but Ascension “can produce a short film to commemorate the life of the deceased, using your footage and photos in addition to imagery from the launch.”
But some scientists are not convinced by the idea and say space funerals could damage spacecraft.
Space archaeologist Alice Gorman of Flinders University told ScienceAlert: “If ashes were scattered in orbit, which these are not, then they’d join the millions of tiny bits of space junk which are traveling at speeds of 7-8 km per second.
“Junk this size causes damage to spacecraft by constant bombardment. Each impact is trivial but there’s a cumulative effect.
“Fortunately in Low Earth Orbit, this stuff usually enters the Earth’s atmosphere quickly.”