Astronomy and Space

Visit the Place Where Your Nearest Neighbors Are In Space

Point Nemo is so remote that the nearest humans are the astronauts aboard the international space station

Readers of Commonplace Fun Facts already know that the most remote piece of real estate in the world is Bouvet Island. When you are there, you are on the most isolated island on the planet. It is the perfect place for introverts.

What if Bouvet Island gets a sudden influx of introverted tourists, and you find yourself needing to isolate yourself even more? Pack your bags (and don’t forget your swimsuit) and head to Point Nemo.

Point Nemo is a location in the Pacific Ocean that bears the distinction of being the furthest from any land. Found at coordinates 48°52.6′S 123°23.6′W, it lies about 2,688 kilometers (1,670 miles) from the nearest land, Ducie Island, part of the Pitcairn Islands, to the north; Motu Nui, one of the Easter Islands, to the northeast; and Maher Island, part of Antarctica, to the south.

The location of Point Nemo

Point Nemo takes its name from Captain Nemo in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. “Nemo” is also Latin for “no one.”

Point Nemo is also referred to as the Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility. It is so far removed from any inhabited area, that many times the closest humans are the astronauts aboard the International Space Station as it passes overhead.

The area is so remote that it hasn’t even been visited by the man who discovered it. In 1992, survey engineer Hrvoje Lukatela determined the location by using a computer program that calculated the coordinates that were the greatest distance from three equidistant land coordinates. Possibly, no human has ever passed through those coordinates at all.

As for non-human inhabitants, things are pretty scarce in that department, as well. Point Nemo is located within the South Pacific Gyre: an enormous rotating current that prevents nutrient-rich water from flowing into the area. Lacking food resources, there is little life to be found other than bacteria and small crabs that reside near volcanic vents on the ocean floor.

Because it is so remote, Point Nemo is frequently the target for engineers seeking to return decommissioned satellites and spacecraft to earth. For this reason, Point Nemo is sometimes referred to as a “spacecraft cemetery.” Hundreds of space-faring items have splashed down in this region.

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