Saturday, September 4, 2010

Die in Space And Your Body Might be Freeze-Dried, Vibrated to Pieces, And Used as Compost For a Memorial Shrub

As humans venture further and further into space the likelihood of a fatality on a mission/journey increases to a certainty. We need to plan and prepare what to do with a corpse in space. Obviously burial is not an option. Science fiction shows have naval like ceremonies with the crew jettisoning the body in a special capsule toward the nearest star. Cremation is another option, though that would be rather energy intensive, not to mention waist-full, and would still live remains needing to be disposed of. How does being freeze-dried, vibrated into tiny pieces, and used as compost for plants sound? Would it sound better if those plants are referred to as a memorial shrub? (via)

"The U.S. has plans for a manned visit to Mars by the mid-2030s. The ESA and Russia have sketched out a similar joint mission, and it is claimed that China's space program has the same objective. Apart from their destination, all these plans share something in common: extraordinary danger for the explorers. What happens if someone dies out there, months away from Earth?

Swedish ecologists Susanne Wiigh-Mäsak and Peter Mäsak are the inventors of an environmentally friendly alternative to cremation and burial, called Promession. The technique entails freezing a body, vibrating it into tiny pieces, and then freeze-drying the pieces, which can then be used as compost to grow a memorial shrub or tree.

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