The Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility or Point Nemo is the most remote location on Earth. This spot is around 1,450 nautical miles away from any place of land on Earth. So, which place would be more perfect than this to dump all the dead or dying spacecrafts? None, and that's why NASA calls this location its "spacecraft cemetery." "It's in the Pacific Ocean and is pretty much the farthest place from any human civilization you can find," NASA said.
To bury some spacecraft or satellite in this "cemetery," space agencies have to pre-set a crash in such a way that it falls down into Point Nemo. However, the small ones actually do not end up going there because "the heat from the friction of the air burns up the satellite as it falls toward Earth at thousands of miles per hour. Ta-da! No more satellite," explains NASA.
The problem is with the larger objects. If space agencies can time a crash landing, it would go into Point Nemo. If not, nobody knows where it would go!
For example, Tiangong-1, the first Chinese space station, was launched in September 2011 and weighed about 8.5 tons. China lost control of this 34-foot-long orbital laboratory, which the China National Space Administration had called a "Heavenly Palace," in 2016. Now, the enormous spacecraft is doomed to crash land on the Earth by 2018 and no one knows exactly where this giant space station is supposed to smash. When it does, hundreds of pounds of the spacecraft, including its titanium scaffolding and glass-fiber-wrapped fuel tanks, would be falling at a speed of more than 180 miles per hour before slamming into the ground.
Since China doesn't have control of Tiangong-1, it can't make sure of the disintegration of the Tiangong-1 over Point Nemo.
As per a report by Popular Science, space agencies across the world had dumped at least 260 spacecrafts into the region between the time period of 1971 and 2016. Till 2015 the number was 161 and then it increased dramatically, reports Gizmodo.
The spacecrafts that are buried under the spacecraft cemetery include the Soviet-era MIR space station, over 140 Russian resupply vehicles, several European Space Agency's cargo ships (e.g. Jules Verne ATV), and also a SpaceX rocket, reports Smithsonian.com.
While all the spacecrafts that fall from the sky do not wind up in the cemetery and several of their landing points are not known, chances are very sleek that they will ever hurt anyone while smashing on Earth. "It's not impossible, but since the beginning of the space age .... a woman who was brushed on the shoulder in Oklahoma is the only one we're aware of who's been touched by a piece of space debris," Bill Ailor, an aerospace engineer and atmospheric reentry specialist, told Business Insider.
Around 4,000 satellites currently orbit Earth at various altitudes and still there's space for more, points out the publication. However, it's getting crowded out there, considering the fact that an enormous amount of space junk is also there.