What do you do with the 108-metre, 408,000kg behemoth that is the International Space Station? Unfortunately, resale isn’t an option. It needs to go to the dump – but not your average dump. Instead, the International Space Station will join over 263 other large spacecraft at the bottom of a 2.5km-deep trench in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
This absolutely nowhere is a spot situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, approximately 5,000km south-west of New Zealand and 2,700km north of Antarctica. The area was selected due to its obvious lack of settlement by humans. This no-man’s sea is Point Nemo, known as the furthermost point on Earth from any landmass. Still, NASA has calculated that the chances of an incoming spacecraft ending a life is 1 in 10,000. That’s actually quite a high number considering leisurely water sports are surprisingly uncommon for the area.
Notable (now deceased) predecessors to the International Space Station to end up in such a spot include Mir, Progress, and Tiangong- 1. Obviously not all spacecraft crash into the ocean and meet their watery demise. Smaller crafts are unfortunately obliterated by the atmosphere by the time they can even get close to the Earth’s surface, making this spot the final resting place of only the biggest spaceships from over the decades.
The Jules Verne began disintegrating about 75km above the surface of Point Nemo, but most of the ship now sits snug among hundreds of its dead metal brethren. Check out this stunning video of its fiery re-entry.
The International Space Station is set for decommissioning in 2024. Once that happens, the ISS will fall from the skies at a throttling 290km per hour before being swallowed by a gaping marine gulley in the middle of the Pacific.