Where will the International Space Station end its life?


Far, far away beyond the coast of New Zealand, deep down into the most remote Pacific waters, a unique “graveyard” is located – the place where the most expensive technics, built by man, is buried.

This tiny spot on the World Map is located in the southern part of the Pacific ocean and is around 1450 nautical miles (2685 km) away from the closest land. If you want to find it on Google Maps, you can draw an imaginary triangle between the Maher island (located close to Antarctica), the Ducie island from the Pircairn island group and Moto Nui island just south of Easter Island. This little spectacle is called Point Nemo (and also the “Pole of Inaccessibility”) and was first discovered in 1992, because before that the nautical scientists hadn’t got the necessary cartographic and geographic tools to identify the existence of this place. It is vital to state that Point Nemo isn’t actually a “point”, there is no land there and it is just a piece of see water with coordinates 48°52.6′ south and 123°23.6′ west (just if you are keen to visit it, but unfortunately there are no gift shops). Another fact about Point Nemo is that, if you are there and you are the only one, you will be closer to some astronauts in space 400 km above than to any other human on land.

Point Nemo

The location of Point Nemo (Pole of Inaccessibility). Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Since the place was so remote that it could not be found before the beginning of the 90s of the twentieth century, it had the necessary characteristics to become the perfect location for bringing down satellites and other cosmic objects, because NASA has always required that the space aircraft graveyard must bring no bigger chance of crash with populated area than 0,0001 percent (0,0001%) with it.

Fact: “nemo” translates as “no man” – which pretty much sums up how empty this part of the world is.

For the last twenty years or so since the spot was first used for burying of cosmic objects, until the present day, more than 260 space flying objects rest in peace there, the most notable of which is the 142-ton Soviet space station Mir.

And, naturally, Point Nemo will be the place where the present-day International Space Station will end its life, which is expected to happen around the year 2028.

Alex

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