Some people choose to honor the memory of a lost loved one by doing something creative with their ashes. What's more creative than taking their remains to the very top of the Earth's atmosphere and releasing them? That's what Mesoloft is offering to those who want to say goodbye in a way that no one will ever forget.
Mesoloft is taking remains to an altitude of 20 miles (32.2 km), which is a part of the stratosphere called Near Space. That's about three times higher than the cruising altitude of an average commercial jet. Going into orbit requires an altitude of about 62 miles (100 km), just to give a little perspective as to where a loved one's ashes are going.
At this height, Mesoloft co-founder Chris Winfield says that the released ashes travel around in the atmosphere before eventually making their way back to Earth in rain or snow.
The ashes are carried up on a custom weather balloon with a container that has a trap door. GoPro cameras are also mounted to the device, allowing family members to see the ashes being released. GPS trackers are in use, and the paying family is given live access so they can track the ashes as they make their journey to the edge of space.
As for any sanitary concerns, the team addresses that on its website: "In 1997 the EPA determined that aerial ash scattering was safe and has no significant effect on the environment. Since cremation occurs at a very high temperature, the resulting purified ashes are sterile and quite safe."
Mesoloft is offering two different packages, and neither are cheap. The standard launch package, which includes a launch and release, a video of the process, and book will set loved ones back US$2,800. A destination option, which includes the same items but at the location of the loved one's choosing, goes for $7,500.
The video below shows some of the process and provides some more information.
Want a cleaner, faster loading and ad free reading experience?
Try New Atlas Plus. Learn more