Aura Flights – Ashes into Space
When Samantha from the Aura Flights team got in touch to see if I would be happy to chat about the work they do, I was immediately interested. As I discuss funeral wishes and preferences with all my clients I am often asked about options and a lot of people are looking for something different. Scattering ashes in space is certainly different! So my imagination was captured, and I was keen to know more. This is what I have discovered from Samantha, the info she sent to me, a brilliant discussion with Dr Chris Rose – the Co-Founder of Sent into Space and some research I have conducted.
Once in a Lifetime
The first thing I wanted to know was what happens to the ashes themselves. After they are carried up by balloon to 100,000 feet (approx. 30km) they are released into the stratosphere. The images of this happening are really quite beautiful, the team have worked hard to avoid an ash-dump like release, which could prove an anti-climax to the journey which is filmed for loved ones. The stratosphere is above the storms and turbulence of the troposphere so is relatively calm. Also, as sound does not travel well at this level, I imagine it to be incredibly peaceful as well. Once ashes are realised, they begin floating back toward earth, and will be picked up by the winds as they fall through the layers of atmosphere. These winds could take them thousands of miles, all around the earth. Some of the ashes will join clouds and fall back to earth as rain or snow. As 78% of the world rainfall happens over water, it is likely some ashes will find there way into a sea. A large proportion of my clients request to have their ashes scattered into water, this way it could be a beautiful tropical ocean. Also, as the ashes have been dispersed so finely, they would have no real presence on arrival unlike when a collection of ashes are released into a river etc. Ashes that return as rain on land will return to the soil, possibly in forests, and return to nature and the cycle of life.
Remarkable Balloon Design
The next focus of my attention was environmental factors, with more and more of us considering eco-options in day to day life as well as for after we are gone, this could be the deciding factor for some people. As I mentioned before, the ashes are carried up by a balloon, but the design of these balloons is remarkable. Once the balloon has released the ashes, it pops, but as it does so it has been created to stay in thin strips, still attached to the neck and the equipment. When the equipment lands back on earth it is retrieved by the Aura team – I’m sure you can imagine the equipment is all highly specialised and certainly not disposable. So, the balloon is retrieved as well. Aura explain that occasionally small fragments can become separated, which is why they are made from un-dyed natural latex, which in non-toxic and degrades at the same rate as an oak leaf! Aura also use Hydrogen gas over Helium wherever possible, as Helium is non-renewable and has a high demand for medical applications.
Packages to support everyone’s budget and choice
When considering funeral or send off options, a lot of us consider the wishes and experience for our loved one’s left behind. Whether leaving clear wishes about service choices, to save loved ones from making difficult decisions, or specifying you would rather the event be a celebration or party to make it a more enjoyable day for people to attend. So how do your loved one’s feature with this pathway choice? Well choice is still key; you could elect to have a simple cremation and make this flight your gathering or memorial. Or keep to traditional funeral plans and have this experience for just nearest and dearest. Aura have different packages to support everyone’s budget and choice, and they really are less expensive that I expected! The hosting and support provided by Aura is tailored to you, they can look after every aspect and having spoken to them it is clear they are passionate about what they do and share my passion for providing excellent customer service. With each of their packages, loved ones receive a video recording of the flight as a keepsake. On the flights where ashes are released, they extend this video offering to welcome families to send in photo’s, video clips, messages, and music which they will edit into the video to create a wonderful memory which can be re-visited and treasured in the same way as a wedding video.
Peace and Beauty
When they first began this venture for people, the Aura team wondered if it would be just space fans that would be interested, the Trekkies amongst us. But it was the peace and beauty that captured me, and with more people enjoying travelling as a hobby it seems more of us are determined to see as much of the world as we can. So, a final adventure such as this seems pretty perfect.
Please get in touch if you have any questions, would like to have a more detailed chat or to receive price information. Just like us here at Carson & Hughes, Aura are striving to make sure their services are as achievable as possible for everyone, so they offer different levels of service, and finance options. So if this is something that sounds appealing to you, then reach for the phone – and the stars.