Harvard pop psychology guru Timothy Leary has transcended his body one last time. The cremated remains of the LSD aficionado, along with those of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and 22 other people, were blasted into orbit earlier today from the Canary Islands along with a Spanish scientific satellite.
Each person's cremains, as they are called, are socked in a lipstick-sized capsule expected to circle Earth for at least 18 months. The maiden flight cost $4800 per ashtronaut. The price is "comparable to most conventional funeral services," according to Celeste Inc., the Houston-based firm that contracted to have the ashes sent spaceward ho. But wait, there's more: Celeste says that purchasers of the Earthview Spaceflight Service will also receive a commemorative bronze keepsake urn emblazoned with Ad Astra, or to the stars.
The cremains, each of which weighed 7 grams at launch, should make at least 8600 orbits before reentering Earth's atmosphere in a second, consummate cremation. "Space remains the domain of a few, the dream of many," Celeste Vice President Charles Chafer said in a statement. The Earthview space flight, on the other hand, he says, offers "a final chance to become part of the universe, by being one with the universe." A sentiment with which Leary, no doubt, would agree.