Under the wide and starry sky / Dig the grave and let me lie ...
So begins the self-penned epitaph engraved on Robert Louis Stevenson's tomb in Western Samoa. If the author of "Treasure Island" could see us now, interring remains among the "wide and starry sky" instead of beneath it, would it strike him as strange? Would his spirit of adventure and discovery deem it a fitting journey, or would he have been of two minds, like his characters Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
Space burial is but one option offered in a growing catalog of posthumous adventure packages, a market fueled by the sentimental or narcissistic urge to mark our passing with rites reflecting our individuality. These days, like pharaohs of old, more people are "taking it with them," outfitting their coffins with domestic comforts from favorite foods to cell phones, video games and cars.
The possibilities after death don't stop at tchotchkes. Agents are also standing by to consign -- and confine -- our remains to burial plots that would have made our grandparents plotz.
Some consider a diamond created from the cremains of a loved one to be a girl's best friend; others prefer to go out with a bang, entombing their remains in the tiny steel, copper and plastic "coffins" of bullets and shotgun shells, or possibly fireworks [sources: LifeGem; Holy Smoke; Angel's Flight]. Ocean lovers might opt to face their ebb tide as a memorial reef constructed of concrete and cremains [source: Eternal Reefs].
Finally, for those who prefer their final resting place out on the final frontier, there's the infrequent flyer plan, following in the phantom footsteps of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry and "Star Trek" actor James "Scotty " Doohan -- a five-minute mission 70 miles (113 kilometers) above our big, blue marble.
Wait, five-minute mission?
You read correctly. Some space burials go more boldly than others, and package prices reflect the difference. Unless you can afford astronomical fees, your money may buy you only a brief space hop or a few trips around the block.
Even so, many of us would give anything to visit space. Sure, we'd rather tag along as crew, but being carted along as cargo will do in a pinch. Until the Virgin Galactic flight prices descend to something less than the cost of a 30-year mortgage, most of us won't get a ticket until we punch our tickets.
Now, let's lift the lid on these missile mortuaries and see what intergalactic interment entails.