A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

By Nina Pajak

All I’ve done for the past two days, along with half the country, is to fall down the Robin Williams Internet grief hole, read celebrity tributes, think about the fact that the monster that is clinical depression claimed the life of the real Peter Pan, and watch endless clips from The Birdcage. And I am all sadded out.

So let’s talk about dead pets.

In a good way! And by good, I mean insane.

According to The New York Daily News, there is a company called Celestis Pets that will henceforth allow bereaved pet owners to send poor, departed Fido’s cremated remains into space, or to the moon. The article explains, “Packages include suborbital flights that return to Earth, lunar flights and missions to deep space, with prices starting at $12,000.” It goes on to quote the company’s CEO, who says that they’d been getting years of requests for a “memorial spaceflight.”

Perhaps I’m behind the times, but this raised a number of questions for me. Chief among them, what? And also, why? But mostly, what?

It turns out Celestis Pets is a subsidiary division of Celestis, Inc., a Houston-based company that has been offering memorial spaceflights for human remains for many years. They’re an affiliate of Space Services, Inc., which is an aerospace company that does all sorts of things I don’t understand involving public, consumer-focused space travel. Like a “solar sail,” which will theoretically result in a capsule of our treasured possessions orbiting the sun. Or something.

You guys. I think it’s possible that people have too much money.

Who even knew this stuff existed? I guess plenty of folks did, but it’s all pretty shocking to me. I suppose if you had a bunch of cash to burn (pun intended!) and your grandfather always dreamed of visiting the moon, it’s a fitting tribute. But I can pretty much guarantee that my dog has never thought for a single moment about the thrill of space travel, and I’m nearly certain he is entirely unaware of the universe at large, let alone his place in it. When that sad day comes and he crosses over the rainbow bridge into doggie heaven (this is a real thing that I couldn’t possibly make up), I don’t believe that clipping a bit of his hair or scooping up a gram of his ashes, then paying a Kia’s worth of dough to send it floating around in deep space for a while is going to ease my pain.

On the other hand, I think that launching myself into deep space to go adventuring might help take my mind off my grief. I’ll stop and have a drink at one of those hip, edgy asteroid bars and drown my sorrows in a little retail therapy on Jupiter, home to the largest high-end shopping district in the galaxy. Don’t think it’s possible? Well, Virgin Galactic makes its first commercial voyage in 2015. I give it ten years before we’re all sitting in purple-uplit spaceship cabins, ordering $25 club sandwiches from a tiny screen on the seat back in front of us.

In the meantime, I hope your cat finds the peace she seeks as her spirit orbits the Earth for the next ten to two hundred years. She always did like . . . the dark? Open spaces? Walking in circles? I give up.

Nina Pajak is a writer living with her husband, daughter and dog in Queens. Connect with Nina on Twitter!

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