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Burial at sea of a full body is available. Private individuals can arrange for a burial at sea through several companies. In this case the family can be present on the boat for the burial. If the individual to be buried is a veteran or active duty service member the Navy offers free burial at sea. Civilians cannot attend the ceremony.
There are regulations regarding burials at sea. The body can be wrapped in a shroud or placed in a casket. If it is in a casket the casket must have holes drilled in it to allow it to sink. It must be weighted. Burials at sea must be done at least three nautical miles from shore and the water must be at least 600 feet deep. The US Enviromental Protection Agency is in charge of these regulations.
Resomation is considered by some to be the new ecologically friendly alternative to burial or cremation. The body is broken down into it's component parts by soaking it in a water based alkali solution. Unlike cremation it does not put pollutants such as mercury in the air. The process only takes a few hours.
When resomation is selected, services can be held the same as with any other type of funeral. A small amount of white ash will be returned to the family. It can be treated in the same manner as you woudl the remains from a cremation.
Your loved one may have always dreamed of going into space. He may have watched every space launch with wonder and excitement. Now you can launch part of their cremated remains into space.
Celestis, based in Houston, TX, is a private sector company specializing in space missions. They offer a service where a small portion of cremated remains are encapsulated and taken aboard a vehicle bound for space. Usually they are placed on satellites. The remains stay with the satellite in orbit around the earth.
They have plans to launch remains to the moon in the near future as well as plans to take them into deep space. Another service that they offer is called an Earth Rise Service. The remains go into orbit around the earth and then are returned to earth.
A gathering for family members is held at the launch site any time that remains are going into orbit. If you cannot attend in person they can arrange for the launch to be viewed via web cast.
Mummification is again being offered as a means to preserve the human body. An organization called Summum is offering the service. They have been perfecting their process since approximately 1975. The organization and it's process have been widely covered in the media.
While they are calling the process mummification, the body is not dried out as it was in Egyptian times. They use a chemical process. Rather than dried, the body is left looking more lifelike. The body is left in a tank of the chemicals for several months.
The Summum organization bases their beliefs on ancient Egyptian rituals. They perform a ritual that they call the rites of Transferance while the process is being done. After removal, the mummification continues with the body being bathed, dried, wrapped in gauze and then wrapped in polyurethane. It is then encased in resin and fiberglass. The final steps include encasing it in a mummiform which is then filled with an amber resin for a final seal.
Cryonic preservation is the process where ultra cold temperatures are used to preserve the body. The stated goal of the organizations that offer this service is to preserve the body until sometime in the future when it can be restored to good health due to medical advances.
Cryonics differs in that it is not considered a method of internment or a mortuary practice. For a body to be eligible for cryonics there must be a cardiac death without brain death. Someone who is declared brain dead is not a candidate for the process. Their goal is to preserve a brain that could be brought back to life.