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Boldly go where few corpses have gone before

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If you want "to boldly go" where very few humans have gone before, you may be interested in a new museum exhibit. There's just one catch, though: in order to travel, you must be dead.

The exhibit opens Tuesday morning at the National Museum of Funeral History in north Houston. And it includes a section on Celestis, Inc., a company that launches cremated remains into space.

The ashes of 26 year old Bobby Mills went up into orbit in May. His father says it was a fitting send off for a son who died too soon.

"You go to a traditional funeral, and you look down," said Henry Earl Mills. "But here, you're looking up. You know you're being lifted up with it."

Over the past 15 years, Houston-based Celestis has launched thousands of lipstick-sized capsules containing loved ones' cremains. The cost starts around $1,000 and rises according to the distance at which the capsules are deposited.

"In a couple of years," explained Celestis president Charles Chafer, "we'll do our Voyager service, which is a deep space mission that sends you into the cosmos forever."

The price tag for that? Over $12,000.

Still, the service brings space travel into the financial realm of many Americans even though anyone who qualifies to fly is – by definition – beyond any capacity to enjoy it.

"Who would've thought?" wondered Genevieve Keeney, president of the National Museum of Funeral History. "If you couldn't do it in life, you can definitely do it in death."


For more on the new exhibit at the National Museum of Funeral History, click here:

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