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Fly It To The Moon

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The Moon is open for business.

A California company plans to fly the world’s first private mission to the moon next year, delivering messages, business cards and even cremated remains for a fee. Officials at La Jolla-based TransOrbital say they have signed a $20 million contract with Moscow’s international space company Kosmotras.

The company says they are planning a test launch next month, and then send a real spacecraft on a trip to the moon next October. Officials say the unmanned space vehicle, called the TrailBlazer, would orbit the moon for about three months, taking high-resolution pictures of the lunar surface before crashing into it. Onboard would be a cargo of private messages, cremated remains and other materials.

According to the company’s Web site, shooting messages to the moon starts at $16.95. A business card will cost $2,500, and inert materials like ashes will cost $2,500 per gram.