dryriver writes: Whether you launch a satellite into space or an entire space station like the Russian Mir, the Chinese Tiangong-1 or the International Space Station, what goes up must eventually come down — re-enter earth's atmosphere. The greater the mass of what is in space — Mir weighed 120 tons, the ISS weighs 450 tons and will be decommissioned in a decade — the greater the likelihood that larger parts will not burn up completely during re-entry and crash to earth at high velocity. So there is a need for a place on earth where things falling back from space are least likely to cause damage or human casualties. The Oceanic Pole Of Inaccessibility is one of 2 such places. The place furthest away from land — it lies in the South Pacific some 2,700km (1,680 miles) south of the Pitcairn Islands — somewhere in the no-man's land, or rather no-man's-sea, between Australia, New Zealand and South America, it has become a favorite crash site for returning space equipment. Scattered over an area of approximately 1,500 sq km (580 sq miles) on the ocean floor of this region is a graveyard of satellites. At last count there were more than 260 of them, mostly Russian. The wreckage of the Space Station Mir also lies there. Many times a year the supply module that goes to the International Space Station burns up in this region incinerating the station's waste. The International Space Station will also be carefully brought down in this region when its mission ends. No one is in any danger because of this controlled re-entry into our atmosphere. The region is not fished because oceanic currents avoid the area and do not bring nutrients to it, making marine life scarce.
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