Why can't you give a pet a space burial?
June 1, 2012 9:36 PM   Subscribe

Why is it apparently not possible to give animal remains (cremated)?

Upfront, my cat isn't dead. I had a close call, but got medical attention.

However, assuming the worst, I looked up something in the veins of sending my cats ashes into the sun, or the oort cloud, or out of the solar plane all together. Just no crashing back here on earth. Quick google search and refinement search turned up nothing.

Thought I'd ask, why can't I? Is it that bureaucracy doesn't allow it, or no one has wanted to do it yet? It should be possible, I believe.
posted by pemdasi to Pets & Animals (5 answers total)
I don't think there is anything stopping you legally or bureaucratically. Right now it doesn't look like anyone is offering this service though. Maybe people who are burying family members in space don't want pets sharing the flight with their family members.

Celestis offers a human space burial service. They do not accept pets for space burial at this time, but someone may or may not have put a pet's ashes on one of their flights. It would be in violation of the contact with Celestis, but apparently Celestis has no way of knowing.

3k will get 1 gram of ashes in an Earth orbit that will reenter the Earth's atmosphere in 10-240 years.

10k would get 1 gram of ashes to the moon, although they don't plan on starting that service until 2014/2015.
posted by pseudonick at 9:59 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Huh. Are you sure this isn't possible? I'm in Chicago and every day I walk past a business that specializes in cremating animals for pet owners. (Their newest "special" is turning your pet into a diamond. I don't quite get it, but I've never stopped in to inquire.)
posted by artemisia at 12:20 AM on June 2, 2012

artemisia, the question is about space burial of the cremains.

A quick search of sources indicates there is some concern about space burial from an environmental standpoint, especially with Celestis moving to eventually target the Moon for burial (though the US is not a signatory, this would conflict with the Moon Treaty). But I can't find any specific concern about animal cremains vs. human.

US launch approval for space burial rests with the Office of Commercial Space Transportation. Much of their concern is public safety. It may be that there is a feeling, or unwritten policy, in that office that pet cremains are not a sufficient reason to jeopardize the public, and Celestis would certainly rather do things that they have approval for.
posted by dhartung at 12:54 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

You've linked to a comment at the bottom of a Wikipedia article, and framed your question in a way that gives that comment the weight of some universal Constitutional law. Private companies make arrangements with other companies to reserve a small portion of some object being launched into space, their payloud being some dead organisms' ashes. Of course you could get your feline's remains up into orbit also, even to the Oort cloud if you made the right arrangements, possibly in another country. Naturally this will require certain resources for barter. If you have those resources, perhaps you could develop your own launch vehicle -- escape velocity shouldn't be that difficult to attain for such a small object. I'd guess you'll soon find other pet owners you'll be able to partner with in this enterprise.
posted by Rash at 9:48 AM on June 2, 2012

The Wikipedia article you link to doesn't say it's not possible, just that it hasn't happened yet.
posted by Lexica at 2:25 PM on June 2, 2012

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