US mulls tax break for space 'burials'

December 12, 2011

Americans who want to save money on taxes may want to consider rocketing their ashes into space, according to legislation being proposed in Virginia.

The bill, up for debate next year, would offer state residents a tax deduction of up to $8,000 for deciding to send their remains into space, US media has reported.

State officials say it would be good for the economy.

"I know there's a giggle factor, but it's time to get over that," J. Jack Kennedy, a board member of the Virginia Commercial Spaceflight Authority, told WTVR news in Richmond, Virginia.

"This is about business and job opportunities."

The goal is to boost visitors to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island.

Mourners would eat at local restaurants, stay at hotels and visit attractions, said Donna Bozza, director of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission, according to WTVR's website.

"If you're spending that money to go to space, you're going to want your peeps to cheer you on," she said.

The space funeral industry is dominated by a Houston, Texas-based company called Celestis, which says it has launched 10 "memorial spaceflights."

Costs range from $1,000 to have one's remains launched into space and return to Earth, and $10,000 to have one's ashes sent to the Moon.

On offer beginning in 2014 is the "Voyager Service (which) launches your loved one on a voyage through deepest space, leaving the Earth-Moon system on a permanent celestial journey," the company website says.

The cost for a single-gram sample of one person's ashes would start at $12,500.

Some famous people who have had their remains launched into include writer and LSD advocate Timothy Leary, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, James Doohan -- also known as "Scotty" from Star Trek -- and Mercury 7 astronaut Gordon Cooper.

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4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 12, 2011
State officials say it would be good for the economy.

Once again, our idiot government has a completely BACKWARDS definition of "economy".

U.S. Senator's definition of economy:

"Consume as many resources as possible in the least efficient manner possible."

$8k deduction so some rich guy can waste his life savings on dumping his body in space?


This should actually get a tax increase, because it represents a permanent reduction of Earth's resources in the form of the rocketry used to push their ashes into space.
2 / 5 (4) Dec 12, 2011
Bart! Bart! The dead have risen and they are voting Republican!

Top five comments heard in congress associated with this proposal.

1. Clearly America must close the space funeral gap.

2. The space funeral industry is way too overtaxed as it is.

3. Americans are losing their homes over the high cost of space funeral taxes.

4. Defund NASA Now to fund tax breaks for the Space Funeral Industry.

5. Mr. Speaker. I propose we test to see just how stupid the American People are....

4.5 / 5 (2) Dec 12, 2011
This is a little tongue-in-cheek, but it is also not a bad idea, per se:

Repackage them into 2-3 metre bundles that will fit in an standard off-shore drilling bore hole, along with say small amounts of the nastiest reactor waste and/or obsolete bio-weapons, and plug them in situ about 1-2 miles down into the descending sea floor plate just outside an active subduction zone--collapsing and sealing the hole behind them. Each drill hole could hold hundreds of funeral plugs, depending on how deep they were drilled into the sea floor. The radioactive waste will not be seen again before it is well and fully degraded and diluted, and the body will be returned the surface dust from which it came in a couple of million or so years.

This would create economic opportunities, help the oil & gas exploration industry be weaned off extracting polluting materials, solve radioactive waste problems, and generally reduce the land use crunch over using arable land for cemeteries.
0.7 / 5 (49) Dec 12, 2011
I thought private spaceflight was supposed to profitable? Now we have to subsidize space burials? LOL
5 / 5 (1) Dec 13, 2011

Finally, for the religiously inclined, a sure way to get to "heaven" ;)

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