Got $12,500? Send your ashes to the moon — or hold off for a celestial cemetery plot – Orange County Register

Can’t get to outer space in this lifetime?

For $12,500, you can send a gram of your cremated remains blasting onto the moon or have them shot out into deep space.

It costs about $5,000 for a “burial” in low-Earth orbit, where a travel-shampoo-size urn can spin for years at 17,000 mph until it gradually descends into the white-hot re-entry atmosphere. That’s what was done with bits of “Star Trek” entertainment franchise creator Gene Roddenberry, and famed writer and psychedelic drug advocate Timothy Leary.

A thimble of ashes or DNA can be shot to the edge of Earth’s atmosphere for about $1,000.

These mostly symbolic services are widely viewed as oddities catering to highly imaginative nerds. But business is better than ever. Hundreds of Americans have already ordered space burials this year.

And the first privately funded payload to the moon is set to launch by early next year carrying ashes among its many other packages.

Houston-based Celestis launched the remains of dozens of people into Earth orbits in 2015 and 2016. CEO and founder Charles Chafer said it will deliver many more times that amount this year to orbital and deep-space destinations — up to 500 urns.

Celestis, the U.S. market leader for space burials, is able to accommodate more customers because of new technologies and affordable commercial rocket ships.

“We’re in the tsunami phase of new space activities,” Chafer said.

The company just partnered with Torrance-based Argos Funeral Services to provide more personalized space burials across Southern California.

Last year, Argos became the first funeral provider to score permission from the California Department of Public Health to send cremated remains to space on the first privately funded lunar mission led by Moon Express.

A small portion of that customer’s ashes will join dozens of others on a rocket ship that blasts off from New Zealand late this year or early next year destined for the moon.

A robotic lunar lander built by…

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