87. Reading Skills Comprehension: Instructions

By | July 30, 2020

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Read the passage given below.

James Doohan, Scotty from the original ‘Star Trek’ series, died in 2005. Before his death he instructions in his will that he wished to be buried in space. It took a long time, but Doohan’s made it to space in 2012.

The first space burial took place 20 years before Doohan’s and it involved the ashes of another person involved in ‘Star Trek’, that of its series creator Gene Roddenberry. Since then, space burials have become big business. And believe it or not, with traditional funeral expenses going through the roof, the costs of space burials have actually become competitive. A company that specialises in space burials, Celestrix, offers a price list to potential customers. The launch of a single gram of a loved one’s ashes into the earth’s orbit starts at around $5,000. The launch of the same amount of ashes into deep space costs $12,500. The third option, of having one’s ashes scattered on the moon can cost $9,950.

The popularity of space burials is now changing funeral habits in the United States. More and more people are choosing cremation instead of burial so that their relatives have the option of sending their ashes into space. Since 1999, according to the Cremation Association, in Canada and the United States, the rate of cremations has almost doubled.

Companies like Celestrix take payment from the departed family, receive the ashes and even provide the container to carry the remains. The container, in this case, is a special one as it must be secure enough to get past thermal, vibration and vacuum tests before it can be launched so as not to explode while orbiting in space.

 The space urn then is taken to ride out to space. It needs a vessel in which it can escape Earth’s gravity. Thus it has to be launched into space with the help of rockets with satellites, scientific equipment, climate instrumentation and other payloads.

As there is yet no dedicated spacecraft to run exclusive burial services, the remains have to be in waiting till a suitable opportunity can be found in a craft which can find room to accommodate the urn. Some companies have begun to specialise in this operation. Ceveit is one company that offers customers ‘a dignified memorial spaceflight.’ The company takes the ‘remains’ up to join communication satellites, spy satellites and thousands of other satellites that circle the earth.

As a step further, there are companies that are looking at other options. One of them is planning to start a service to send a keepsake, such as a DNA sample, a wedding ring, a photograph, to the moon. Once the keepsake reaches its destination, the client will get a photograph on the social media or any other network of one’s choice, to cherish forever afterwards.

 (a) On the basis of your reading of the above passage make notes on it, using headings and subheadings. Use recognizable abbreviations (wherever necessary — minimum of four) and a format you consider suitable. Also, supply an appropriate title to it.

 (b) Write a summary of the passage in about 80 words.

Ans. (a) The Lure of Space Burials

I. James Doohan’s last wish

 (i) left as instructions in his will

 (ii) wished to be buried in space

 (iii) wish fulfilled in 2012, though died in 2005

II. Scenario 20 yrs before and now

(i)Gene Roddenberry’s ashes carried into space 20 yrs earlier

(ii) Rising cremation rate provides space burial options

 (iii) space burials now competitive with ritual burials

III. Offers made by Celetrix to customers

(i)price list available

 (ii) $5000 for earth orbiting of ashes

(iii) $12,500 for space burial

(iv) ashes scattered on the moon for $9950

(v) ashes collection by the company

(vi) provision of thermal, vibration and vacuum sealed container

IV. The process of ashes launch

(i)launched by rockets/satellites

 (ii) carrying sc equip, climate instrumentation & other payloads.

V. Drawbacks of the system

 (i) dedicated spacecraft for exclusive ash carrying

(ii) long wait for a suitable launch

(iii) Ceveit’s services on common satellites /spy satellites and others

VI. Future steps

(i) carrying keepsakes

A. DNA Sample

B. Wedding ring

C. photographs

D. facilitate posting on social networking sites.

Key to Abbreviations


yrs                           years

 sc                            scientific

 equip                   equipment

&                            and

 commn       communication

 (b) Summary

 Following Gene Roddenberry’s example, James Doohan’s ashes were taken into space. With cremations rising and space burials turning competitive, companies like Celestrix offer services of collecting ash, providing containers and earth-orbiting, deep space carrying, or scattering ash on the moon. Despite a long gestation period, as there are no dedicated flights for ashes carriage, companies manage to dispatch their cargo on satellites. Future plans include carrying keepsakes such as DNA samples, wedding rings and sending photographs for posting on social media networks.

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