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Sci-Fi

Ashes of Doohan Sent Into Space 112

Stephen Samuel writes "The CBC is reporting that Star Trek actor James Doohan ("Scotty") achieved his hopes of having his ashes launched into space when a package containing some of his ashes, ashes of Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper and about 200 other people were carried into sub-orbital space by a 6 meter (20') rocket. The rocket was launched by UP Aerospace from "Spaceport America", a commercial spaceport being developed in the southern New Mexico desert."
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Ashes of Doohan Sent Into Space

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  • So "beam me up, Scotty" is now going to translate to "kicking the bucket", eh.
  • Congrats, Scotty! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2007 @08:20AM (#18918169)
    You made it into space. If only briefly.

    >>the rocket soon parachuted back to Earth

    "Aye, Cap'n, I cannough change the lews of physics"

    Interestingly, Mr. Doohan was a huge fan of steam locomotives, far away from the high tech of Star Trek, donating his time to a museum, and acting as a locomotive engineer (ok, "driver" to some of you).

    tph
    • ...a locomotive engineer (ok, "driver" to some of you)

      Take a break driver eight...

  • NASA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DuncanE ( 35734 ) * on Sunday April 29, 2007 @08:23AM (#18918183) Homepage
    Hmmmm... I would of thought some of the peeps at NASA could of thought of a more individual gesture than that. I realise he's not a REAL spaceman, but surely everyone at the big N A S A can tie a bit of their personal motivation back to good old Scottie....

    Beam me up.
    • Re:NASA (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tinkertim ( 918832 ) * on Sunday April 29, 2007 @09:22AM (#18918481) Homepage

      Hmmmm... I would of thought some of the peeps at NASA could of thought of a more individual gesture than that. I realise he's not a REAL spaceman, but surely everyone at the big N A S A can tie a bit of their personal motivation back to good old Scottie....

      Discovery channel (last year) did a special on Vitamin Trek, how ST changed and helped shaped technology. If you look at the Ion Propulsion lab at NASA, it looks quite a bit like the engine room of the NCC 1701.

      He was of course an actor, but his acting was geek inspiring. I would have thought catapulting him to the sun or on a course likely to hit one of the gas giants would have been more fitting. I guess that costs money though :)

      So in memorium I'd just like to say :

      Up your shaft.

      (no, not flame bait, he said that on the Excelsior when the turbo lift talked to him)
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      would/could of -> would/could 've. It may sound the same, but trust me, there's a difference...
    • by ColaMan ( 37550 )
      They do, for people they care about.

      Eugene Shoemaker wound up with some of his ashes on the Lunar Prospector spacecraft, which eventually flown into the moon. He was the guy who co-discovered Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which eventually smacked into Jupiter.

      See: Lunar spacecraft carries ashes, special tribute to Shoemaker [nasa.gov]
      • Eugene Shoemaker wound up with some of his ashes on the Lunar Prospector spacecraft, which eventually flown into the moon. He was the guy who co-discovered Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which eventually smacked into Jupiter.

        Likewise, ashes of Clyde Tombaugh [wikipedia.org], the discoverer of Pluto, are being carried by the New Horizons [wikipedia.org] space probe, due to fly past Pluto, the Kuiper Belt and on into the interstellar void...

        • by DuncanE ( 35734 ) *
          Wow... thanks for setting me straight. It reminds me how many people that REALLY achieve something never enter pop culture.
  • by Zedrick ( 764028 ) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @08:24AM (#18918197)
    TFA doesn't say, but I presume it's aimed towards (planet) Genesis?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It is sort of disappointing. Only one ounce of the actor's ashes were aboard the rocket and the rocket only reached sub-orbital space (good for a rocket but not so cool for an individual's ashes being flown into space). Worse, it seems that everything came back with the rocket. So, really, what happened is one ounce of Doohan's ashes made a round-trip jaunt to sub-orbital space. They spent maybe a couple minutes there and now all of his ashes are back on Earth.

      There is no chance for a Spock/Genesis sto
      • by rbanffy ( 584143 )
        Maybe we could think all of his ashes are still waiting for the right spaceship to take him into interstellar space. If it did a slingshot around the Sun, it would only be better.

        I am sure he would think it to be worth the wait.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pclminion ( 145572 )

        Worse, it seems that everything came back with the rocket. So, really, what happened is one ounce of Doohan's ashes made a round-trip jaunt to sub-orbital space. They spent maybe a couple minutes there and now all of his ashes are back on Earth.

        And your point is? We sure as hell HOPE that our astronauts COME BACK from their missions. He travelled high enough to earn a set of civilian Astronaut Wings. And like a real astronaut, he came back when he was done. I'm sure he'd be happy.

  • Sub-orbital space? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by owlstead ( 636356 ) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @08:34AM (#18918239)
    If you've got a small rocket (6 meters), that has already failed once, it's better to put part of the remains of a person in it than trying to fit a live person into it. So from that point of view I can understand this experiment.

    But to shoot ashes into space, while knowing they will return anyway, and first viewing an unsucccessful launch (ugh), what's the point? Glad it worked this time, having to return a third time, only to do it all over again... that might have been hard for the relatives.
    • Obviously, that rocket isn't the right tool for the right job.
    • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @10:29AM (#18918859) Homepage
      Sure; if you want to fling corpses way up in the air and then have them land again, just use a trebuchet.
    • by TrevorB ( 57780 )
      Unfortunately it would probably take something the size of a modern Titan rocket to get Scotty's ashes the rocket launch they deserve: Escape velocity from the Sun. Maybe with enough extra velocity to pass the two Voyagers by the 23rd century.

      I don't think anyone was willing to put up the ~$200 million or so for the launch. ;)
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by ragefan ( 267937 )

        Maybe with enough extra velocity to pass the two Voyagers by the 23rd century.
        Maybe with enough extra velocity to pass the two V'gers by the 23rd century.

        There, I fixed that for you.

    • But to shoot ashes into space, while knowing they will return anyway, and first viewing an unsucccessful launch (ugh), what's the point? Glad it worked this time, having to return a third time, only to do it all over again... that might have been hard for the relatives.

      It would be especially hard for the relatives, if the ashes were in a labelled package with the person's name on it. Imagine how they would feel if someone reported finding their loved ones ashes on the ground somewhere in the middle of some town, where they were supposed to be in space.

      Do you think they would feel scammed?

  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @08:49AM (#18918323) Homepage
    May your dilithium crystals be fully charged, your matter/anti-matter reaction balanced, your wee bairns well cared for, and the transport to your final shore leave free of malfunctions.

    Energise.
  • by niceone ( 992278 ) * on Sunday April 29, 2007 @08:52AM (#18918337) Journal
    Is sub-orbital space the not-so-final frontier? Is he boldly almost going?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FlyByPC ( 841016 )
      The problem is, they didn't have Scotty working on the engines. Had he been available to help, they'd have made orbit for sure -- and then some.

      I'm within a year of finishing up my Engineering Technology degree. I know for a fact that Doohan's "Scotty" had a lot to do with my interest in Engineering, even though I'm not a hardcore Trekkie. (I just think it's a good sci-fi TV show.)
      Here's to a job well done, Mr. Scott -- we miss you.
  • NASA's first manned space flight carried only one passenger into space and back to earth. UP Aerospace sent over 200 passengers into space and return them in one piece (sort of)!
  • I'm not normally very sentimental about human remains, but this is cool. It's an expression of hope. I loved Scotty...
    • I just wanted to backup your sentiments. I generally don't care what is done with someone's remains but every time I hear this story I smile a little.
  • by Coraon ( 1080675 ) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @09:18AM (#18918463)
    Ironicly, the best person to fix this rocket would have been scotty.
    • Ironicly, the best person to fix this rocket would have been scotty.
      That's probably why they decided to put him on this launch. Why else do you think that the flight went well?.

    • "...Ironicly, the best person to fix this rocket would have been scotty..."

      I agree.

      It's not well known, but whenever the Saturn V was playing up, NASA always got a hammy old actor in to sort out pogo resonance problems or suchlike. These thespians have hidden depths...

      T&K.
  • by netwiz ( 33291 ) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @09:31AM (#18918525) Homepage
    Now all that remains is to put a pint of seawater on the moon with the appropriately inscribed air cylinder shipping label.

    /obscure, see if you can get it.
  • When you consider that the atoms that made up his body were most likely created by stellar nuclear synthesis and distributed around the universe by supernova.

    If they shot my toenail clippings into space I wouldn't really feel like I had been there. No matter how many clippings were used.
    • Your argument has a whiff of atheism about it. Thus you attach no significance to the body as an assemblage and his vessal in life.

      Since you haven't established Doohan's atheism, nor that of his family and friends, I fail to see how your argument applies.
  • James Doohan WW2 Vet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rvr ( 15565 ) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @09:57AM (#18918685) Homepage
    I remember reading a bio of James Doohan when he died. My esteem went up for him greatly when I read that he was a WW2 vet. Born in Vancouver (woohoo!) and led a group of men at Juno beach on D-Day taking a few bullets in the process. The world seemed a little bit colder to me when I heard that he died. Fare thee well James.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      He also lost a finger storming the beach on D-Day with the Canadian Engineers. You can only see it in one episode of TOS, as he hid his 4-fingered hand very well.
    • by FlyingSquidStudios ( 1031284 ) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @10:37AM (#18918921) Homepage
      Which cost him one of his fingers (and thankfully that's all). He tried to hide it as often as he could, but there are a few episodes of Star Trek where you can see his missing index finger in a shot or two. Also, unknown to most people, he provided the voices of a lot of the supporting and incidental characters in the animated Star Trek show. He always had a talent for voices.
      • He always had a talent for voices.
        His talent for voices extended to his Scottish accent. As the GF post said, He was born in Vancouver [google.com] (that's 200Miles North of Seattle for the geographically impaired).
      • I never knew about the finger - I'm surprised they didn't try and make it part of the character with a backstory to explain it (laddie, have ye ever seen a plasitron beam break its containment field ...) On second thoughts, it would be a poor second to the real truth.
    • by dr_dank ( 472072 )
      One of those bullets would have surely killed him if not for the silver cigarette case he had in his pocket at the time, a gift from his brother before he left for the front. Who said smoking kills?
  • It took a small part of his his ashes up then brought them back down... I bet that wasn't what he was thinking.
  • by Tteddo ( 543485 ) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @10:37AM (#18918925) Homepage
    Just read this at Wikipedia: "One of the many legendary stories of his flying years tells of Doohan slaloming a plane -- variously cited as a Hurricane or a jet trainer -- between mountainside telegraph poles to prove it could be done, which earned him a serious reprimand." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Doohan [wikipedia.org]
  • Perhaps there's a place where a version of Scotty remains.
    • Nah, everyone dies in that universe. I'm sure that they can tell when a normie crosses over, as suddenly someone loses half their friends in a 45-minutes span.
    • But in that universe, Scotty *CAN* do it because he *DOES* have the power.
  • suborbital (Score:3, Informative)

    by PineGreen ( 446635 ) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @11:21AM (#18919179) Homepage
    It is suborbital, so the ashes will, eventually, fall back to earth. Their net energy is still negative.
  • by SeaDour ( 704727 ) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @11:47AM (#18919335) Homepage
    SCOTT (to Waiter): "What in blazes is this?"

    WAITER (confused): "Didn't you order Scotch?"

    SCOTT: "Lad, I was drinking scotch about a hundred years before you were born and I can tell you that whatever this is, it is definitely not scotch."

    DATA (to Waiter): "I believe I may be of some assistance. Captain Scott is unaware of the existence of synthehol."

    SCOTT: "Synthehol?"

    DATA: "Yes. It is an alcohol substitute which is now normally served aboard starships. It simulates the appearance, smell, and taste of alcohol, but the intoxicating effects can be easily dismissed."

    SCOTT: "You're not quite... human are you?"

    DATA: "No, sir. I am an android. My name is Commander Data."

    SCOTT: "Synthetic scotch and synthetic commanders..."

    DATA: "I believe Guinan does keep a limited supply of non-syntheholic products. Perhaps one of them would be to your liking."

    Data bends down and reaches under the bar... then stands up and puts a very old bottle of a green liquid on the bar.

    SCOTT: "What is it?"

    DATA: "It is..." (tries to inspect the label) "It is..." (takes a sniff of it) "...it is green."
  • He's dead, Jim.
  • If I were going to have my ashes sent into space, I'd want my own personal canister aboard a larger payload that gets launched out into space; as in, keeps on going and going and going forever, away from Earth (at least until I hit a planet or star or something). Maybe even a tiny ion engine to continually accelerate.

    Aikon-

    • by SeaDour ( 704727 )
      Carl Sagan wrote something similar in his novel Contact. Cancer-stricken S.R. Hadden fakes his own death, then launches himself in a small ship away from the solar system. He stays conscious to catch the views as he passes by the gas giants, then enters a deep freeze, hoping to be awakened in a few million years by a passerby alien who can cure his disease.
      • I haven't gotten around to reading this yet but it is definitely on my list. Just finished Consider Phlebas and the rest of the Ender saga, so as soon as I'm finished The Time Traveller's Wife [wikipedia.org] I will get right on it.

        Thanks,

        -Aikon

  • I was lucky to meet Mr. Doohan at a book signing in Los Angeles 15 years ago. May he rest in peace and I am glad he got his final wish. Mr. Scott is definitely my favorite Star Trek character and thank you so much for acting him out.

    "He called you a tin-plated dictator with delusions of grandeur."
    "So, that's when you hit him?"
    "No, sir, you told us to be restrained." ...
    "He called the Enterprise a pile of garbage and that's when I hit him."
    "You're relieved of duty and confined to quarters until further not
  • to have my ashes shot into the sun.
    Because we all that we are came from the sun and other suns, I feel it would be a genuine continuance of the circle of life to return whence we came. Forget "ashes to ashes", I prefer "atoms to atoms"..

    The sun is the real giver of life.
  • by Slur ( 61510 ) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @05:33PM (#18921785) Homepage Journal
    Scotty and Captain Pike [inthenews.co.uk] launched in the same week!
  • I thought it was a new Harry Potter book!
  • (Apologies to Carl Sagan)

    But we are. Every one of us and everything we know around us is made up of star debris. We are all the products of fusion reactions in stars. We are made of atoms that are billions and billions of years old.

    We have been deep in space. We have ridden on asteroids, meteorites, comets, and planets.

    It's kind of cool to think about it.
  • I thought they were going to beam his ashes into space [thetoque.com]!
  • by Boyceterous ( 596732 ) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @08:43PM (#18923025)
    of what I would want done with my ashes. Doohan had a lover for outer space. I want my ashes shot into a woman. If there was any DNA left, I guess they could name the kid "Ashley"
  • Ashes of Doohan: Band name or sci-fi/fantasy series?
  • Visitor: So, these are the ashes of Scotty, eh?

    Techician: Yeah.

    Visitor: (taps off end of cigar into urn) Looks like Scotty put on a little weight.

  • i hope that they were put in separate boxes because if, someone in a thousand years opens that box and tries to rebuild a human from dna.

    It's going to be a serious mess of a human.

    My name is scotty, or is it doohan, maybe it's martha ,,,,wait i'm pretty sure i'v been there and done that, why do i have breast?

  • A story announicng that Braga and Berman's ashes had been sent into space...

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