Bad enough dumping Earth refuse on the moon (have they got a permit?) but then you find it isn't even all of a person's ashes, but a token gramme?!? Gee wiz!
The US company which last year blasted the remains of Star Trek actor James Doohan on a quick rocket-propelled Earth-orbit jaunt has announced it will be offering an "ashes-to-the-Moon" service as soon as 2009. Prices for Celestis Inc's "Luna Service" start at $9,995 to dispatch a symbolic one gramme of ashes, rising to a cool …
I want my ashes sent into a black hole so that by the magic of wormholes I will re-materialise on the other side to begin a whole new life in another dimension.
Either that, or to make sure I use up all my remaining assets so the damn relatives can't fight over them.
Either is a good outcome.
If there's bits of dead human lying around on the surface of the Moon and if any kind of bacteria or similar is subsequently found up there on future Luna missions how would we be 100% sure that it was native and not something that had been dumped there by this?
Also how would you be able to verify that they'd actually put the ashes up there?
I hope that the people with $10K to spare have something better to spend their money on.
We're pretty damned sure there's no life on the Moon, nor has there ever been. The US and USSR both returned samples from the surface and we have a large collection of lunar meteorites, which (amongst many other fascinating bits of geochemistry*) have one thing in common - they're completely anhydrous - there is no water on the Moon, either on the surface or in the minerals***, so no water for life. The killer temperatures and solar radiation would also do for organic chemistry.
And before anyone jumps on the story that bacteria were found on the Moon during the Apollo 12 mission to the Ocean of Storms...
Apollo 12 landed right next to the abandoned Surveyor 3 lander. The two astronauts took samples from Surveyor to see how it had withstood 18 months of radiation, heating, cooling and micrometeorite bombardment. When they were brought back to Earth, spores were found on some of the insulation. These were cultivated and found to belong to Streptococcus. For a long time it was believed that the spores had set when a lab technician assembling Surveyor had sneezed on the instrumentation, and that they had survived their exposure to space.
HOWEVER, this is now disregarded. The samples were not placed in biological isolation on their journey back from the Moon or on their way to the lab and it is far more likely they were contaminated on the way back to NASA. And experiments on the same species where they are exposed to freeze/thaw/dry cycles like those on the lunar surface always results in dead bugs.
* if you're a geochemist**
** guilty as charged
*** there *MAY* be some superficial ice at the Lunar South Pole carried by comets, although the evidence is somewhat patchy.
'Did Neil Armstrong et al bring their poo poos back with them or leave them behind?'
Worryingly, I know the answer to this one.
After rendezvousing back in orbit, all the trash and dirty nappies were loaded into the lunar module which was then crashed into the Moon for the benefit of geophysicists* and their seismographs.
* Children the lot of them.
> the lunar module which was then crashed into the Moon for the benefit of geophysicists
Possibly also because NASA didn't want to have to contend with tracking a bunch of old lunar modules in moon orbit to avoid them possibly crashing into future missions to the moon?
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