back to article Virginia ponders tax breaks for (dead) human space flights

The US may not be able to singlehandedly put a live man into space right now, but Virginia politicians may be about to boost the number of dead Americans catapulted into orbit. The Virginia General Assembly is soon to consider a bill that will allow an income tax deduction of up to $8,000 (£5,100) for burials in space, WTVR …


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  1. dotdavid
    Paris Hilton

    The final frontier

    I was watching James May send the remains of a cat and a bird into "space" using a PARIS-style weather balloon.

    That looked pretty cool and relatively cheap so I wondered why there weren't "space funeral services" around using the technique. Some kind of licensing hurdle?

    PARIS icon for obvious reasons. Perhaps Vulture 3 will be a hearse ;-)

  2. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    So basically...

    if you died filthy stinking rich, and your heirs decide to lavishly spend a wad of dough to shoot your ashes into space, they'll get a big tax deduction for that. Great. What a way to protect the bourgeoisie lifestyle.

    1. sitruc


      Tourism money

    2. Figgus

      Tax loopholes to promote certain industries ALWAYS suck, regardless. Look at the current "green" debacles and how effective those industries are. Take away the tax favoritism and they would vanish overnight!

      Taxes exist to raise revenue, NOT to control behavior.

    3. perlcat

      So many questions...

      "What a way to protect the bourgeoisie lifestyle."

      Isn't the prime reason for having a funeral is that the guest of honor is dead?

      If a funeral is a way to preserve a "lifestyle", with the actual event only occurring once in order to send the remains off, why isn't it more appropriately called a "disposalstyle"?

      I also don't get the association with the 'bourgeoisie' bit. Being dead, the funeral participant has no money, and therefore can't be a member of the 'bourgeoisie'. Otherwise, the OWS crowd also needs to camp out at cemeteries and graveyards, protesting oversized headstones, tombs, and other monuments reflecting the conspicuous consumption of the dead, which can be significantly higher in cost than what's been mentioned here.

      I'd also like to point out that nobody outside of a freshman level political science classes uses the term 'bourgeoisie' anymore. That would be because normal people don't want to sound like a freshman level political science student who has read one book, and thinks it solves all the world's problems, never mind the fact that there are no successful implementations of the prescription in that book. That, apparently, is learnt in the *sophomore* level political science course.

      Methinks you're just outraged at the conspicuous consumption of money spent by people grieving their dead and felt the urge to open your piehole and share your 'wisdom' regarding other peoples' grief -- why don't you go hang out with the WBC crowd, and see where those sort of comments take you in actual society, as opposed to your mom's basement?


      1. Pirate Dave Silver badge


        No, the outrage is because a tax break is being offered to the survivors on the simple grounds that they are spending money on a luxury purchase for a room-temperature corpse, whereas regular Joe doesn't get an $8000 tax break for buying a regular tombstone and burial plot for his dead wife. Hence, bourgeoise.

        1. perlcat

          @pirate dave

          I'll grant you that the rich do not need tax credits to bury their dead.

          However, that is not so much a function of the rich being rich, as it is of plain old cronyism and shitty governance. This is just another government handout to potential donors for electioneering purposes, using the money seized from people who can least afford it.

          If politicians thought us geeks could get them the cash to get their disgusting asses re-elected, there'd be tax breaks for computers & stuff. It has nothing to do with being filthy rich -- as a matter of fact, there are plenty of filthy rich on both sides of the political spectrum, leading to a massively unfair and convoluted tax code -- made convoluted especially to conceal the true amount of unfairness from both political ends of the spectrum. Neither wants the corruption to slow down, let alone stop.

          If we actually had any idea how much of our money is taken out of society from those who cannot afford it and handed to people that don't need it in order to receive a tithe back in the form of political contributions, we'd have our own arab spring here.

  3. disgruntled yank

    they the peeps

    The only person I remember to have his ashes shipped off into space was Timothy Leary, who was hardly the sort I can imagine the Virginia legislature regarding as a role model. On the other hand, paying taxes has never been popular in Virginia (see: Jefferson; Henry; Washington), so perhaps any old excuse will do.

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      To be boldly buried where no one has been buried before

      Portions of the cremated remains of Gene Roddenberry, Timothy Leary and 22 other people were put into orbit onboard a Pegasus rocket in 1997 which remained in orbit until 2002.

      Some of Eugene Shoemaker remains were carried to the moon onboard the Lunar Prospector in 1998, so strictly speaking the only person buried in space is Eugene Shoemaker.

      1. Darryl

        James Doohan too

        aka Mr. Scott

        Actually went into space twice (almost) because the Falcon rocket failed on his 2nd trip

        Proving "ya canna change the laws o'physics"

  4. SiempreTuna
    Thumb Down

    Tax Deductible Fly Tipping .. IN SPACE!

    .. like there weren't enough problems tracking junk up there ..

    Do the ashes actually get into orbit or do they actually just get high enough to burn up on their (immediate) re-entry?

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "support of local boosters"

    Nice one.

  6. Marty

    what about the enviromental issues......

    you know, if it becomes popular to launch your loved ones into space, we are going to end up with and environmental disaster...

    forget for a moment the effects of the ash that will block light rays and therefor cooling the planet... forget for a moment the fuel needed for such a launch....


    if my O'level physics is correct, each time you launch something into orbit the force required does indeed SLOW the rotation of the earth (every action has an equal and oposit reaction....)

    we are going to end up with 30 hour days... tides will all be out of whack... it will end up bringing an end to life as we know it !!!

    1. Armando 123

      But as they come back down, the angular momentum is still preserved so the earth has to speed back up again.

  7. proto-robbie

    Up, up and away ...

    ... pretty much like the ozone layer.

  8. Goes to 11

    "Ground control to Major Tom"

    Carry on...

  9. miknik

    $995/gram you say?

    So for around $60 million we could blast Justin Bieber into space temorarily before he returns into a fiery oblivion high above the ocean. Twitter would then probably save that money from their bandwidth bill alone. Where do I sign?

    1. perlcat

      Uhm, a question, sir?

      Would he have to be cremated (or even deceased)?

      Just asking...

      That's a joke, son.

  10. FozzyBear

    Hang on a Second

    I need to clarify, is this physically dead as certified by a doctor, or can the term dead be expanded using prefixes such as

    "Brain"-Dead - those individuals that are polluting the gene pool, a majority of so-called celebrities, Senior management and the (L)Users that we have to deal with.

    “UN”-Dead – A Politician - Rather than brains or blood these walking corpses in suits are feeding off our tax dollars.

    There are cheaper alternatives, sure, but none as spectacular

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He couldn't talk

    ...spending a year dead for tax reasons.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like the idea

    but to be honest, if i could have a second thought, id be well pissed off if i ended up coming back to this place, you dont work all your life to blast off in to space to just come back down again, bugger that

    Relatives take note, if your going to do it, do it right!

  13. kain preacher

    A while back there was company that claimed they could make a diamond out ashes of the dead. Never forget a loved one by making them into a hope diamond(not they hope diamond.).

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