Last summer, I wrote about the case of some missing crematorium ashes in Albuquerque. Apparently, a member of the family had been tasked with transporting the ashes to a memorial service where Uncle Vern’s ashes were to be tossed into the Rio Grande on the
Central Ave. bridge. However, when Cousin Louie’s 74 Nova wouldn’t start that morning, he hopped on a cross-town bus to get to the memorial at the river.
The bus route wasn’t direct, so there was a change of coaches along the way. And that’s when the usually reliable Cousin Louie lost his focus left the ashes on the bench where he had been waiting for his connecting ride.
Police eventually found the missing urn, fearing at first it was some kind of “toxic waste” and were a bit queasy about opening it to see what was inside. I’m sure Uncle Vern wouldn’t have liked being identified as “toxic waste.”
Fast forward to earlier this month, when a commercial rocket at Spaceport America was carrying a number of payloads, including the “cremains” of a deceased former astronaut who apparently wanted his ashes blasted into space.
Well. Uncle Vern, you may be glad to know that other deceased individuals have suffered the indignity of failure to get to get to their final resting place.
Shortly after liftoff, the UP Aerospace rocket used for the Celestis memorial spaceflight encountered engine difficulties and the rocket tumbled to ground. It was not described as an explosion, but what I saw on TV sure like one. Maybe it was a “rapid unscheduled disassembly” like the recent Space-Ex rocket explosion was euphemistically described.
UP Aerospace officials say they were able to recover the payload after the crash, apparently including the “cremains” on board.
There was no mention of a second attempt to send the ashes into space. Maybe when the rocket engineers were heading back home, they just tossed the urn with the cremains into the Rio Grande below Elephant Butte. And maybe they’ve intermingled with Uncle Vern’s ashes by now.