Gathered in a common room, the mourners say goodbye to the body of their pioneering geologist, dead from a brain aneurysm. The Mars base memorial service remembers a fellow colonist, but also celebrates a milestone for humanity: On June 23, 2034, she became the first person to die of natural causes on Mars.
After the service, while the mourners head to the public grove that serves as a graveless cemetery, a pair of technicians undress the body and move it to a room ringed with stainless-steel pods. These are tissue digesters. The techs transfer the body into an empty pod and seal the lid. Soon it fills with water spiked with potassium hydroxide, a caustic base. Then the pod is heated to 300° Fahrenheit and pressurized to 70 psi.
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