Video: Laying Spacecrafts To Rest
Christina O'Handley June 28, 2016
Ever wonder what happens to a spacecraft when it can no longer be used? Our friends at Industrial Equipment News have the scoop on the safest place on Earth to bury decommissioned spacecrafts:
The Spacecraft Cemetery
The Spacecraft Cemetery lies in the South Pacific Ocean and stretches more than 1,800 miles from north to south and 3,000 miles from east to west. In its center lies the Oceanic Point of Inaccessibility, or Point Nemo, named after Captain Nemo from Jules Verne’s "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea." The closest stretch of land lays 1,670 miles away, making it the hardest place on Earth to reach, unless you’re a spacecraft.
Space agencies chose this remote location to land low-orbiting spacecrafts due to the dangers these ships face when reentering the Earth’s atmosphere. The heat from the friction of the air during this violent re-entry burns up most of the spacecraft. The cemetery’s most famous resident, the Russian spacecraft Mir, originally weighed 143 tons but only 20 tons made it to the watery graveyard.
This debris falls into the deepest parts of the ocean, next to the few sea creatures that decide to live in these icy cold waters. It’s a great place to bury deceased spaceships, satellites and space stations. Too bad no humans will be able to stop by to "pay their respects."
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