US Clears Company to Fly Ashes of Cremated Humans to Moon

August 9, 2016
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Originally published by: Fortune.com

Moon Express reached a unique milestone last week when it became the first private company to be cleared for a mission to the moon by the U.S. government. Among its plans for outer space services? Taking human remains into the final frontier for those who want to make the moon their final resting spot.

Company co-founder and chairman Naveen Jain told theNew York Post that the cost of shuttling your ashes to the moon will run a cool $3 million per kilogram, which means taking a typical human’s remains would cost somewhere between $5 million and $8 million. And despite the price, demand is high. “We already have a long list,” Jain told thePost.

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Moon Express’ astral ambitions go far beyond burial services. The company’s first lunar mission will launch next year and will dispatch a robotic probe to the moon. There, the probe will have to travel at least 500 meters and beam HD video back to Earth as part of Moon Express’ bid to win the Google Lunar X Prize , which tops out at $20 million.

The firm’s eventual plans involve mining lunar resources like rare earth elements and other potentially valuable minerals which can then be processed for use on Earth.

“We are now free to set sail as explorers to earth’s eighth continent, the Moon, seeking new knowledge and resources to expand the Earth’s economic sphere for the benefit of all humanity,” said Moon Express co-founder and CEO Bob Richards in a statement. Richards also pointed to the possibility of mining water on the moon, calling it “the oil of the solar system” (although it’s still not quite clear if water definitely exists on the moon).

The private space race has been heating up in recent years with notable efforts like Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which is seeking to break ahead of the pack by reusing previously launched rockets and thus dramatically cutting launch costs.

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