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Wednesday, September 02, 2009


A follow up to my recent poll on space burial. While it wasn't exactly a massive selection of votes (7) the results are interesting. On a previous occasion a poll I did on how much of the economy should be government spending (average about 15%) I was willing to discount it till a newspaper poll came out with results that seemed to be in line. Thus I am going to treat this poll not only as the best to hand but also as reasonable:

Don't want space burial 14%
Willing to pay £10,000 14%
" " " £5,000 14%
" " " £2,000 14%
Wanting some but not all ashes scattered in space 43%

This gives the paradoxical answer that 7 average people between them would be willing to pay £11,000/£7,000 depending on whether the market can provide the more extensive service, for the lower price (have assumed £333 for the last option).

So lets see how that converts:

About 1.5 billion in the developed world or wealthy members of the undeveloped. Assume life expectancy of 80.

(1.5bn X 0.0125)/7 X £7,000 = £18.7 billion ($30 bn)

That looks to me like a serious space industry, comparable with space tourism, there for the taking. In particular I was surprised at the number choosing the last option. It looks to me like making that last option available for ordinary funerals would be a very feasible extra option for any business model.

Another thought is that such ashes need not be scattered immediately & that, if kept, they may be easier to scatter in a decade.


Consider also the potential of two other markets -- pets and NON
cremated remains. One of the great properties of space is the
accessibility of assured 90K temperatures with simple, passive
hardware. If quick response launch were a reality and not a slogan,
one could imagine regular cargoes of frozen departed-- departing. To
what advantage? IF (big if) one is a cryonics customer, consider the
odds of a 3 month blackout in some future troubled time (not hard to
believe in the possibility today:) boiling away whatever liquid
nitrogen they are basing their plans on, versus the cold comfort of
natural law in a million year (to decay time) orbit.
Creepy but the whole business is, isn't it... not for everybody, yet a
living for some...
I must admit I would never have thought of pets. I used to have a cat & my prejudice would be that pets are part of life on Earth but that is jist me & can see how some people would like their cat's ashes prowling the universe.

The cryogenics thing will work when we have cheap mass cargo launching. However the great advantage of distributing ashes is that, because it can be done by small rockets, it is business that can be done today.
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