Life

Point Nemo: The most isolated point on earth

Point Nemo is really just a point in the middle of nowhere in the Pacific - but geographically it's the place further from any landmass than any other.

Those who come here are even closer to the astronauts of the ISS than to anyone in the world. Exactly where he is.

One could translate Point Nemo as “no man’s point”. It is known as the Pole of Inaccessibility – that spot in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that is farther from any landmass than any other point on our planet. According to the Red Bull online portal, it is 2778 km to Auckland in New Zealand, 3978 km to Itajai in Brazil and 2688 km to Maher Island in Antarctica. Point Nemo can only be reached by ship, a journey there takes at least 15 days.

The point was only “discovered” in 1992 by the surveyor Hrvoje Lukatela, using special computer software, taking into account the spherical shape of the earth. And now it’s getting bizarre: Point Nemo, named after the captain of the same name from Jule Verne’s novel “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, is so far away from any populated point that the astronauts on the ISS would be closer to a visitor than any human being the earth.

Here lies Point Nemo

So close to space

According to the BBC, the International Space Station hovers at an altitude of about 416 kilometers, while the nearest inhabited point is over 2700 km from Point Nemo. In the past, the Russian, European and Japanese space agencies have repeatedly taken advantage of this loneliness to sink their space junk in the area around Point Nemo. The “space graveyard” is said to be the grave of numerous discarded satellites and also parts of the Russian station “Mir”.

And of course, such a remote location also fuels speculation – when oceanographers recorded a mysterious sound that appeared to be coming from near Point Nemo in 1997, a sea monster was suspected here as the culprit. Later, however, scientists found out that icebergs breaking apart were responsible for the noise, and the sound then apparently carried it further under water.

Life almost impossible

Point Nemo lies in the ocean currents of the so-called South Pacific Gyre, and the rotating water there keeps other, more nutrient-rich water out — and the mainland is so far away that the wind could hardly bring any nutrients here that would encourage life to develop. Oceanographer Steven D’Hondt, speaking to the BBC, described the seabed beneath Point Nemo as “the most biologically inactive of the entire world’s oceans”.

The only people who may have visited Point Nemo are participants in sailing regattas like the Volvo Ocean Race, which Red Bull says occasionally pass there. With a simple outward journey of 15 days, however, it should take that long again until you have solid ground under your feet again. If you still want to try it, here are the geodata of Point Nemo: 45°52.6S, 123°23.6W.

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