International Space Station (ISS):
NASA has announced that the International Space Station (ISS) will cease operations in 2031, after which it will fall out of orbit and plunge into the waters of the South Pacific Ocean.
- According to NASA’s budget estimates, the ISS’ re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere will take place in January 2031.
- Mission control will first lower its altitude, before the spacecraft begins its descent into the “South Pacific Oceanic Uninhabited Area (SPOUA),” in an area known as Point Nemo.
- Point Nemo has grown to become a sort of space cemetery, where decommissioned space debris is often brought to rest. Located about 2,700 km away from any land, it is named after a character in Jules Verne’s novel “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
- Several landmark firsts were recorded onboard the ISS in the last two decades.
- For instance, in 2018, NASA’s Cold Atom Lab became the first facility to produce the fifth state of matter, called a Bose-Einstein condensate, in space.
- In 2016, a NASA astronaut was able to sequence DNA in space for the first time.