Ashes of ‘Star Trek’ fan to be sent into space along with those of stars from TV series
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The family of a mother of eight who was a huge “Star Trek” fan has ensured the final frontier will be her ultimate resting place.
Gloria Knowlan was 86 at the time of her death 12 years ago. A small quantity of ashes from her cremated body are to be in one of 250 memorial capsules set to be launched into space later this month..
Launch organizers are hoping the rocket carrying the capsules will wind up approximately 330 million kilometers (205 million miles) from Earth, roughly past the orbit of Mars.
The remains or DNA samples of “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry, his wife, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, and Original Series stars Nichelle Nichols, DeForest Kelley and James Doohan also are expected to make the trip.
Their final journey will take place through American company Celestis Inc., which has offered what it calls “memorial space flights” for more than two decades.
Knowlan’s son said his mother dove headlong into things she loved, including the show, after his father died in 2002. Her love of “Star Trek” prompted her to collect replica starships and deck out her Christmas tree each year with a homemade alien spacecraft known as the Borg cube, complete with working lights.
Rod Knowlan said he thinks his mother would be “just tickled” by the idea that a part of her remains were going to space alongside some of the people she saw on TV.
“She was a fan of ‘Star Trek,’ of the concept, from the outset,″ he said in a telephone interview.
For prices ranging from a few thousand dollars to $13,000, Celestis Inc. takes small capsules of human remains or DNA to space and either returns them, drops them in Earth’s orbit or takes them to the moon as a tribute to late loved ones.
Co-founder and CEO Charles Chafer said the rocket carrying Knowlan’s remains, scheduled to take off from Cape Canaveral, Fla. on Jan. 8, will mark the first time the company has offered a trip into “deep space,″ meaning the capsules won’t eventually fall to Earth.
“I believe it’s an awful lot like why people choose to be scattered at sea,” Chafer said. “There’s a calling there. There’s something about the sea that either interests them or attracts them as a location for a memorial service.”
The capsules will be taken into space by the commercially owned and aptly named Vulcan rocket.
Chafer said the main purpose of the trip is for the rocket to test its capabilities to become the first commercial spacecraft to land on the moon and his company’s cargo is getting taken along to serve a “secondary” purpose.
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