The new science fiction film Elysium offers a unique twist on an old theme—rich vs. poor—as a possible future for humanity. In 2154, the wealthy live on a luxurious space station called Elysium, while the poor (everyone else) are left to fend for themselves on a decimated, overpopulated Earth. It’s a rather bleak outlook, but there is also somewhat of a connection to present-day reality, according to the announcement of a new space venture which (coincidentally?) comes at the same time as the theatrical release of the movie. There actually is a company called Elysium Space, and they do plan to send people into orbit, although not quite the way you might think. …
For an estimated cost of $1,990, you too could be sent into space, but there is one catch: you need to die first. Elysium Space will send your (or anyone’s) cremated ashes into orbit in a small capsule. And yes, there’s an app for that, too. You can follow the capsule’s journey on your smartphone as it orbits high above the Earth. An Android version is already available on Google Play, and an iPhone version will be released soon as well.
Elysium Space was founded by Thomas Civeit, who is now using his extensive NASA and astrophysics experience to make this new venture a reality. It has been featured in media such as Time, The Huffington Post, ABC News, The Verge, and MSN News.
There have been other similar services for a while now, such as Celestis, but they cost a lot more, starting at $4,995. Space burials so far have typically been for celebrities and public figures, such as astronaut Gordon Cooper, “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry, and actor James Doohan (“Scotty” from the original “Star Trek”). Elysium Space aims to do the same thing, but more affordably, so that almost anyone could be blasted into the cosmos, not just the wealthy. Of course, if the same thing could happen with space tourism, that would be even better. Who wouldn’t prefer to make the trip while still alive?
Still, if, as the saying goes, “We are all made of stardust,” and you are a fan of the final frontier, this might be a very fitting way to make your final departure. And you don’t have to be super rich to do it.