Are you a weather geek, an aviation fan or a space enthusiast? MesoLoft offers you an out-of-this-world cremated remains scattering service. Your ashes can be scattered beyond Earth’s atmosphere at the edge of outer space, transported aloft by weather balloon.
How it Works
Using a six-foot diameter weather balloon filled with hydrogen, MesoLoft can launch up to three pounds of cremated remains in a specially-designed urn that will release the ashes. Three pounds is approximately half of an average size person’s ashes.
High definition video recorders attached to the balloon record the journey from start to finish. Typically, the ashes are released at 80,000 feet above Earth, over 15 miles high. When released at that altitude, jet stream winds may carry the ashes for months or even years and distribute them over the entire planet.
When the balloon is sent up, two GoPro cameras record the ascent and release of the ashes. Two GPS tracking devices enable MesoLoft to recover the cameras afterward. Their balloons have traveled as far as 100 miles from the launch site. From start to finish, a balloon scattering takes about two hours.
Because these high altitude balloons can be a hazard for aircraft pilots, MesoLoft must file an official Notice to Air Men (NOTAM) with the Federal Aviation Administration. NOTAMs indicate where the balloons will be deployed so pilots can avoid striking them.
MesoLoft conducts launches by grouping services for multiple clients within a week. A minimum of four customers are required to schedule a launch. Families can participate in the launch if they wish to travel to the launch site, located near Bend, Oregon. Their next launch schedule is slated for the first week of August 2018.
The company was started in January 2014 by four co-founders with backgrounds in aerospace engineering and satellites. After developing and testing their equipment, the first MesoLoft launch took place in October 2014.
The MesoLoft name relates to the third level of Earth’s atmosphere, the mesosphere. The lowest is the troposphere, from ground level to about 33,000 feet above sea level (6.2 miles). The stratosphere, between 6.2 to 31 miles above sea level, contains the ozone layer and the jet stream. Jets cruise at about 35,000 feet because the less turbulent stratosphere layer provides a smoother ride.
“This service is popular with those involved in aviation and spirituality, meteorologists, people who travel a lot, and people who didn’t get to travel while they were alive,” said Alex Clements, one of MesoLoft’s co-founders. “We have helped many families honor their loved ones in this remarkable, memorable way.”
While the company is based in Lexington, Kentucky, the founders quickly realized their home state isn’t an optimal place for weather balloon launches and recovery. Kentucky has lots of trees, rivers, lakes, private property, and rainy weather.
They identified the high desert near Bend, Oregon, as a great place for such launches, thanks to sunny weather, lots of public land, and wide-open spaces. MesoLoft is open to launching from other sites, such as Spaceport America in southern New Mexico.
If there’s enough interest, MesoLoft will consider scheduling a series of New Mexico launches in late October as part of the Before I Die NM Festival, October 30 to November 4, 2018. Launches may take place at Spaceport America or in the Albuquerque area. Contact MesoLoft through this page at EternityGardens.com.
What Does It Cost?
MesoLoft offers two balloon launch packages. The Standard Package ($4,500) includes:
- The entire unedited footage of your loved one’s launch,
- An edited version of the video that includes the highlights, and
- The shroud in which your loved one was carried to the edge of the atmosphere.
The Memorial Package ($5,250) includes all of the above as well as:
- A commemorative photo album with still photos from the launch, flight, and recovery,
- A personalized memorial video, and,
- A blog post on the MesoLoft website about your loved one.
Travel expenses for loved ones to attend the launch will be an additional cost outside of MesoLoft’s services.
For more information, visit MesoLoft through this page at EternityGardens.com.