Nemo’s Point. The cemetery of spaceships in the Pacific Ocean

Nemo’s Point. Spaceship graveyard

Nemo’s Point is one of the most remote places on the planet. What makes it remarkable and dangerous?

To begin with, a little bit about space. Around the Earth now revolves more than 15.5 thousand artificial satellites. There are military apparatuses, weather stations, and satellites of communication and telecommunications. All this scrap metal will sooner or later fall to Earth. But not just like that, but in a certain place on our planet. It is called Point Nemo. This is the real graveyard of spaceships.

Ways to dispose of spaceships

To begin with, let’s clarify a little bit about how spacecrafts are “decommissioned” and disposed of.

When a satellite or orbiting space station reaches the end of its useful life, they are disposed of. There are only two ways to get them out of orbit and into retirement. If a satellite has a very high orbit, such as geosynchronous satellites, engineers “push” them further into space, into what is called a graveyard orbit. It is several hundred kilometers above the orbit of the highest operating satellites. Therefore, the probability of collision of needed satellites with unnecessary ones is reduced to almost zero.

For satellites orbiting lower to the planet’s surface, it is better and more economical to slow down their speed and let them fall back to Earth. If the satellite is small, it will burn up and completely collapse in the atmosphere, just like the hundreds of meteors that fall to the planet every day. But if the satellite is large, and there is a possibility that it may not burn up completely in the air, then the process of disposing of it will require a little more attention and planning.

The idea is to direct the satellite into the ocean away from any islands or continents, where the end-of-life device will not harm anyone. The chosen location should also be away from shipping lanes. Such a place in the ocean exists, and geographers call it the “ocean pole of inaccessibility.” Here you can find the very real graveyard of spaceships.

The Pole of Inaccessibility. Soviet station in Antarctica

Nemo's Point in the Pacific

Nemo’s Point is right in the center of the target

We highly recommend reading about the Soviet Antarctic polar station known as the Pole of Inaccessibility. The station is located at the most remote point in Antarctica.

We will place Nemo’s Point in the Antarctica category, as both geographic locations do not belong to any state.

Where is the Spaceship Graveyard

4,800 kilometers off the east coast of New Zealand, and 3,600 kilometers off the west coast of Chile in the South Pacific Ocean lies Point Nemo. Here is one of the largest landfills on the planet. The nearest islands are 2,688 km away. To the north is Ducie Island, part of the Pitcairn Islands. To the south is the Antarctic island of Maher. To the northeast is Motu Nui, near Easter Island.

Nemo's Point in the Pacific

Point Nemo in the Pacific

If you find yourself here (which is highly unlikely), you will not see anything but the endless expanse of water in the Pacific Ocean. To see the cemetery of spacecraft, you have to go down to the bottom of the ocean, at a depth of about 4 kilometers. This is where all the world’s space agencies send spent satellites.

this is most likely what Nemo's Point would look like

This is roughly what Nemo’s Point will look like

The name and features of Point Nemo

Nemo’s Point was named after the famous Captain Nemo (the character of the writer Jules Verne). The name also means “nobody” in Latin. It is very appropriate for such a remote and almost inaccessible place on the planet.

Nemo’s Point, apart from its remoteness from the population, is also almost unpopulated by sea creatures. This is a good thing, since we don’t want space debris affecting marine life. Nemo Point is located in the center of the so-called South Pacific Ocean. It, in turn, is a large rotating ocean current. This rotation blocks the flow of nutrients flowing from the coastal strip of continents. In addition, this part of the ocean is quite deep and the water temperature is about +7 o C. All this makes Point Nemo and the area around it relatively lifeless, resembling an ocean desert. In other words, it is the best place to dump satellites and space debris.

The Pole of Inaccessibility. Soviet station in Antarctica

Nemo's Point in the Pacific

Nemo’s Point in the Pacific Ocean Current Ring

How many remains in the spacecraft graveyard

From 1971 to 2016, 263 vehicles were buried at Nemo’s Point. Unmanned cargo vehicles from the ISS (International Space Station) are regularly sunk here. Eventually, the ISS itself will be submerged in this location when it reaches the end of its useful life. Presumably that will be 2028, unless the life span is extended.

Disposal of the Mir station

The largest burial in the spacecraft graveyard was recorded on March 23, 2001. Then, after 15 years of operation, our space station Mir, weighing 143 tons, was sunk there. On its descent, the station, entering the dense layers of the atmosphere, began to disintegrate at an altitude of about 100 km. By the time of the water collision the weight of the station was no more than 25 tons. Everything else was either burned up or torn off and scattered for tens and hundreds of kilometers around.

Mir Station

Mir station

If you think that the graveyard of spacecrafts is a level ground with neat graves and a watchman at the entrance, you are wrong. Submerged vehicles and their parts are scattered for many kilometers around the ocean. For example, when the Mir station disintegrated in the atmosphere, its wreckage was scattered 1,500 kilometers long and 100 kilometers wide.

As you understand, Point Nemo makes it possible to level out significant calculation errors in the sinking of spacecraft.

Nemo Point satellite disposal

Disposing of another satellite at Nemo’s Point

If you want to see a smooth and orderly graveyard of unusual things, go to the Portuguese island of Tavira. This is where the interesting Anchor Cemetery is located.

Be that as it may, the amount of garbage on the planet is growing, and that is very, very bad. It’s trite, but it’s a fact. Even the paradise of the planet, the Maldives, has its own huge landfill on the island of Tilafushi.

The Pole of Inaccessibility. Soviet station in Antarctica

What secrets does Nemo’s Point keep – the most mysterious place on Earth, which has become the graveyard of spaceships

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Nemo’s Point is the most remote place on Earth. As you can easily guess, it was named after the notorious captain from the novel by Jules Verne. An ideal place to hide a spaceship. It was here, under the depths of the Pacific Ocean, found their last resting place ships, plowing the immense expanses of our universe. Amazing facts about the lifeless pole of inaccessibility, where they arranged the graveyard of lost ships, further in the review.

The most unusual place in the world’s oceans

In the South Pacific Ocean is a place unlike anything else on our planet. Scientists call this place – Nemo’s Point. In fact, it is not such a point, and quite a vast area of 37 million square kilometers. It is removed from the mainland for more than two thousand kilometers.

The exact location of Point Nemo.

Studies of Nemo’s Point have shown it to be a veritable dead desert from a marine biologist’s point of view. “Amazingly, we found about 30 percent fewer microorganisms in the near-surface waters here than in all the other locations. This may be the lowest number ever measured in surface waters of the entire world’s oceans,” says microbiologist Bernhard Fuchs.

Several factors contribute to this lifelessness. First, the vast distances to land and the great depths of the ocean. It is the close proximity of the land and the bottom that are the main sources of nutrients for all marine life. Second, Nemo Point is isolated from the rest of the ocean by strong currents. They also make it difficult to get the substances needed for life. Finally, the surface layers are bombarded from above by a powerful stream of ultraviolet radiation.

The Pole of Inaccessibility. Soviet station in Antarctica

Because of its isolation, Point Nemo has become the graveyard of spaceships. All spacecraft that, because of their size, cannot completely burn up in the atmosphere are sunk here. The Soviet space station Mir, more than 140 Russian supply vehicles, several cargo ships of the European Space Agency and even a SpaceX rocket rest at great depths.

Progress M-52 in space.

A veritable graveyard of dead spacecraft

When the famous and incredibly huge Soviet space station Mir went down in 2001, the Spaceship Graveyard was its last resting place. The funeral didn’t go off gracefully. The ship originally weighed 143 tons, but only 20 tons made it to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. And what was left broke into about six pieces.

A collage of automated cargo spacecraft used in the past, now all at the bottom of the ocean.

A collage of automated cargo spaceships used in the past, and now they are all at the bottom of the ocean.

Most of the dead ships are from Russia. About 200 pieces of galactic debris lying on the ocean floor. The next major resident of Nemo’s Point will be the International Space Station. It is planned to be buried here in 2028. In order not to cause unnecessary disturbance to marine life, the mega try to split into parts.

What else is down there, at a depth of thousands of kilometers? Scientists say many spy satellites, fuel tanks and hundreds of cargo spaceships. There seems to be room for everyone.

Hundreds of fallen spaceships have found their home at the bottom of the ocean.

A place where one wonder ends and another begins

This fantastical landfill of starships is actually surprisingly practical. After all, everyone knows that what goes up must surely come down. The force of gravity ensures that anything that goes up in the sky will sooner or later come home. And it doesn’t matter whether people like it or not. That is why scientists have developed a similar plan for the disposal of dead spaceships, as far away from human habitation as possible.

The Pole of Inaccessibility. Soviet station in Antarctica

Burying is done with all the necessary precautions, having previously carried out a whole system of calculations. Calculations are made with the utmost care, but not everything can always be taken into account. And yet here spacecraft can be relatively safe, without disturbing anyone. Nevertheless, it is time for mankind to think that everything is finite. There will come a time when there will be no room left here either.

Part of a spaceship that has been brought to the surface.

Interesting facts about the mysterious dead spot

The famous American fantastist, author of mystical works, which are even highlighted by literary critics in an independent subgenre “Lovecraftian horrors”, Howard Lovecraft in his story “The Call of Cthulhu” (1926) wrote about Nemo’s point. Strangely enough, the writer pinpointed to the exact degree where the monster from his novel resides. Another author of fantasy novels, Jules Verne, also developed the action in this area. It was here that the unsociable Captain Nemo liked to live.

In 1992, Croatian engineer and explorer Hrvoje Lukatela decided to determine the most remote and inaccessible to humans point of the globe. According to his calculations, it turned out 48 degrees 52 minutes south latitude and 123 degrees 23 minutes west longitude. Pretty close to Cthulhu’s lair. But the engineer turned out to be a fan of another writer, Jules Verne. So he decided to call it Nemo’s Point.

Ocean’s Point of Inaccessibility is where the wonder of space travel collides with harsh reality. They must return home. The only thing is that the bottom of the ocean is quite similar to the environment they had to leave. Space stations, satellites that have become warped pieces of metal, plunge into the cold abyss of another cosmos.

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