Las Vegas residents are used to living with the Sun. Now they can spend eternity orbiting it in space. The Davis Funeral Home Charleston Chapel in Central Las Vegas and Davis Funeral Home and Memorial Park Eastern Chapel are now offering families the opportunity to honor departed loved ones by flying cremated remains on a pioneering NASA mission that could orbit the Sun for millions of years. These two funeral homes are now the exclusive distributors in Las Vegas for Celestis Memorial Spaceflights, which has launched a dozen space burial missions since 1997.
The NASA mission, called “Sunjammer,” is scheduled for launch in January 2015. Celestis’ parent company, Space Services Holdings, Inc., is part of a team of leading aerospace companies and government agencies – led by NASA – that is developing and launching Sunjammer, the world’s largest solar sail. Like a sailboat that harnesses the wind on Earth, a solar sail uses a large area of reflective material to harness the physical pressure of sunlight in space. The slight, but steady force of sunlight is free energy that can push a spacecraft just about anywhere in zero-g.
Sunjammer will be the largest solar sail ever flown – almost 13,000 square feet in area, about one-third the size of a football field. The spacecraft will serve to protect humanity by monitoring the Sun for dangerous solar storms, which can cause serious, long-term damage to electric utilities on Earth and satellites in space. With enough early warning of impending solar storms, engineers can minimize the damage such storms pose to our increasingly high-tech civilization.
Another service that the two funeral homes are making available to Las Vegas residents is Celestis’ newest offerings, also on board Sunjammer: Celestis MindFiles™ and Celestis BioFiles™, which will permit people from around the world to include their photos, messages, music, art, and DNA on Sunjammer. Using Celestis MindFiles and BioFiles, Las Vegas families have the opportunity to take one last eternal trip together with their departed loved ones.
Also aboard will be the cremated remains of the late Gene Roddenberry (the creator of Star Trek), his wife Majel (the “First Lady of Star Trek“), James Doohan (who played “Scotty”), along with people from various walks of life.
Rod Roddenberry, member of Star Trek‘s first family and son of Gene and Majel Barrett Roddenberry, said about launching his parents on the upcoming Sunjammer mission, “I think it was pretty amazing that my father’s ashes got to go up on one the first Celestis flights in 1997 and I remember being very impressed that he was actually going to go where so few had gone before. So years later my mother spoke to Celestis and said that she would love to one day accompany my father up. I’m very happy that she will join my father on the Sunjammer Solar Sail mission very shortly. I was also really excited to hear that James Doohan (“Scotty” as in “Beam me up Scotty”) from Star Trek would be joining my mother and father on that same mission. ”
“We welcome Davis Funeral Home Charleston Chapel in Central Las Vegas and Davis Funeral Home and Memorial Park Eastern Chapel to the Celestis team,” said Charles M. Chafer, CEO of Space Services Holdings, Inc. and co-founder of Celestis. “We are impressed with their professionalism and their dedication to serving the families who use their services.”
“We are excited to offer the Celestis services to Las Vegas,” said Todd Noecker, General Manager of Davis Funeral Home Charleston Chapel in Central Las Vegas and Davis Funeral Home and Memorial Park Eastern Chapel. “As Las Vegas is home to the largest annual Star Trek convention in the world, the Sunjammer mission is a wonderful opportunity for Las Vegans to journey with Star Trek legends into the final frontier on a mission that will protect Earth.”
Visitors to these two Las Vegas funeral homes can learn more about Celestis and its various space burial options. In addition to the Sunjammer mission, families can have cremated remains launched into Earth orbit, to the Moon, or on a trip to space that returns the cremated remains to Earth. With this latter service, after the spaceflight occurs, the cremated remains – still sealed inside the space capsule – are returned to the family as a memento. Visitors can also pre-arrange a Celestis space burial for themselves.