Were the ashes of Bismarck the deceased Monroe police dog aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket? While the evidence isn't conclusive, and if the dog's remains did make the flight it means someone broke the rules, The Herald in Everett reports that it sure looks like that's the case.
Celestis, Inc., a private company, makes its money by contracting with space-bound rockets to provide space burials for those willing to pay handsomely for it - starting at just under $3,000 for a gram of human ashes according to The Herald's story. Most notably, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried the ashes of "Scotty" from Star Trek into space.
According to The Herald:
Osendorf also told the chief that a Monroe-area man who helped arrange Bismarck's flight would be coming by the police station to drop off a commemorative patch.
"We knew that this was the son whose mom's remains were also on the flight," [Monroe police spokeswoman Debbie Willis] said.
However, representatives with Celestis are singing a different tune. While the company can't positively confirm or deny whether Bismark's ashes made the flight, they sound a little peeved at the idea- considering the fact the company doesn't currently offer space burials for deceased animals and if Bismark did end up in space it means a contract was broken.
More from The Herald:
If it's true, the company had "absolutely no knowledge" that it may have transported dog ashes, president Charles Chafer said Thursday.
"As far as I'm concerned, whoever's saying that, we have absolutely no way to verify that they're right," Chafer said. "It would be a huge surprise."
But the plot is even thicker than all of the above suggests. The Herald also reports that the ashes of Monroe resident Cleo Morrison were definitely on the SpaceX rocket, and the former aviator who died in 2006 at the age of 84 may have a connection to Bismark's alleged final resting place in space.
From The Herald:
Morrison's family still lives in the Monroe area. Reached Wednesday, her son, Randy Morrison, declined to comment.
He said he was not permitted to discuss the space flight because of some kind of agreement with an unnamed party.
The Redmond-based cremation company that handled Morrison's ashes noted that her capsule message included a string of characters, ending with "BISK936".
Those characters can be deciphered to stand for Bismarck, K-9, and the code his handler used to identify himself on the police radio.
While the cremation company that handled the packaging of Cleo Morrison's ashes has contacted her son to say no dog ashes were included, it's still pretty interesting stuff.
And, more importantly, there's still no way to know for certain what really happened.
Either way, according to The Herald's story, the Monroe Police Department - which everyone is careful to note was not involved in (allegedly) getting Bismark into space or paying for a space burial - plans to hang the commemorative flight patch on the wall of its station next to a plaque of Bismarck and his handler.