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Dying outside the box

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Families await the launch of a rocket containing the cremated remains of their loved ones. Celestis, an aerospace company, offers four kinds of memorial flights from sub-orbital to deep space. (Photo courtesy of


Human cremated remains are mixed with cast concrete to create living memorial reef balls that are designed to replenish damaged reefs. After they are lowered onto the ocean floor they begin to grow coral, becoming small ecosystems. (Photo courtesy of Eternal Reefs)


Alice Stedronsky's living memorial reef is located two miles off the coast of Sarasota, Fla., in the largest cemetery of its kind in the world. (Photo courtesy of Deborah Everitt Murray)

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Innovators in the death-care industry have been busy dreaming up new ideas for memorials, converting cremation ashes into drinking glasses, pencil boxes, even coral reefs.