11 Apr 2021

RANDOM Times •

To survive, you must tell stories…(“,)

Point Nemo: the most remote place on Earth, and Space Vehicles cemetery

4 min read

People often vaguely refer to “the middle of nowhere,” but as it turns out, scientists have actually figured out precisely where that point is. Point Nemo, the most remote location on Earth, is so far removed from civilization that the closest humans to that location at any given time are likely to be astronauts!

The Nemo Point – The red circle indicates the distance to the nearest islands:

Submerged in the depths of the Pacific Ocean lies the ancient city of R’lyeh, where it sleeps a sleep similar to the death, from time immemorial, a monstrous creature of alien origins, Cthulhu.
“Dream and wait”, because only a particular astral conjunction can awaken it.
The lost city of R’lyeh is located at coordinates 47°09’S , 126°43’W in the South Pacific Ocean. The mysterious and frightening city was born from the imagination of one of the greatest writers of horror and science fiction, H.P. Lovecraft, who described it minutely in his story “The Call of Cthulhu”.
The author placed it practically in the middle of nowhere, in the Pacific Ocean, at 5900 nautical miles (almost 11,000 kilometers) from the nearest mainland. It was 1926. Surprising, because the Nemo Point, or the oceanic pole of inaccessibility, or more simply, the point in the ocean that is farthest away from land, was calculated by the engineer Hrvoje Lukatela only in 1992.

Located at 48°52.6′S 123°23.6′W, really not far from where Lovecraft had located his nightmare city (even August Derleth, friend and editor of Lovecraft, wrote some stories about the myth of Cthulhu), the spot is quite literally the middle of nowhere, surrounded by more than 1,000 miles of ocean in every direction.

In 1997, incredulous oceanographers recorded a mysterious sound that came from a point not far from where Lovecraft had placed R’lyeh, and about 2000 kilometers east of the Punto Nemo. The low-frequency sound, which was called “Bloop” was so strong that it exceeded that emitted by a blue whale.
Scientists began to hypothesize the presence of an unknown sea monster (maybe Cthulhu had suddenly awakened from his sleep?), But in reality the explanation was much simpler: it was the sound produced by the collapse of icy walls in Antarctica.

Clearly, there are no human inhabitants anywhere near Point Nemo (the name “Nemo” itself is both Latin for “no one,” as well as a reference to Jules Verne’s submarine captain from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea). In fact, to give an idea of the distance that separates Point Nemo from any inhabited place, it is sufficient to think that the men closest to it are not on Earth, but in space: the astronauts aboard the International Space Station are around 416 kilometers from their home planet!
Not even the man who discovered Point Nemo has ever visited it. Hrvoje Lukatela located the point in the ocean that was farthest away from any land using a computer program that calculated the coordinates that were the greatest distance from three equidistant land coordinates, and It is very possible no human has ever passed through those coordinates at all.
As for non-human inhabitants, there aren’t very many of those around Point Nemo either. The coordinates are actually located within the South Pacific Gyre: an enormous rotating current that actually prevents nutrient-rich water from flowing into the area. Without any food sources, it is impossible to sustain any life in this part of the ocean (except the bacteria and small crabs that live near the volcanic vents on the seafloor).
“The least biologically active region of the world ocean”, according to the oceanographer Steven D’Hondt.

Precisely the distance from all forms of human interaction and distance from shipping routes, has made Nemo Point a sort of cemetery for spacecraft destined for destruction when they return to Earth, addressed to those coordinates precisely because they are far from everything and from everyone.
Because autonomous spaceships are not designed to survive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere (the heat usually destroys them), scientists needed to select an area where there would be an extremely low risk of any humans being struck with flying space-debris.
Even if a Lovecraftian monster may not lurk in its depths, Point Nemo is surrounded by remains of spacecraft that are, indeed, not of this world!

Although the Punto Nemo is the most remote place on the planet, it is not immune to the problem that plagues the Earth: the waste produced by man, which is trapped in the vortex of the rotating current. The ocean pole of inaccessibility is therefore very far from civilization, but still too close to the incivility of humans…

Images from web.