From The Wide Space To The Deep Ocean

Sebastian Opazo | | BrainsBrains
Kathryn Sullivan pre bording the Limiting Factor Submersible, ocean, space,
Kathryn Sullivan pre-boarding the Limiting Factor Submersible on June 7th, 2020.

Kathryn D. Sullivan at 68 years old has become the first person to walk through space and also reach the bottom of the ocean, with her arrival at Challenger Deep last week. More than 500 people have visited space, 65 of them women, and 8 people have reached Challenger Deep, at the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, the deepest point on earth. On Sunday the 7th of the present month, she became the first person to visit both places.

The two missions are total opposites in the minds of some people, but for Dr. Sullivan, it represents two extremes of a lifelong passion for understanding the world around her as much as she can. The NASA astronaut and oceanographer got to Challenger Deep, which sits at a depth of 36,037-feet (10,984m) in the deepest oceanic trenches, as part of the Ring of Fire Expedition. This was organized by bespoke adventure company EYOS Expeditions and undersea technology specialist Caladan Oceanic.

NASA portrait of astronaunt Kathryn Sullivan.
NASA portrait of astronaut Kathryn Sullivan.

This North American jumped to fame on 11th October of ’84 when she became the first US woman to leave a spacecraft during her mission STS-41-G. Her initial pursuit took her first into foreign languages, specific, Russian.  However, the life route got her into the study of earth sciences, “quite against her will”, but that will forever change her perception of the ocean. She was admitted into NASA’s class in 1978, the first recruitment that brought women into astronaut ranks. Dr. Sullivan took part in two more missions, including the ’90 launch of the “Hubble Space Telescope”, logging more than 530 hours in space. Upon leaving NASA in 1993, Sullivan went on to serve as a Chief Scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and in 1996 as the President and CEO of the Center of Science & Industry in Ohio.

On June 7, Dr. Sullivan prepared herself to set foot on the Challenger Deep, accompanied by her fellow scientist Victor Vescovo, founder of the Caladan Oceanic. The Challenger Deep is the deepest known part of the earth’s seabed. Part of the Mariana Trench, it is almost 7-miles (11-km) below the ocean’s surface and 200-miles (322 km) southwest in the Pacific Ocean. Dr. Sulliven went down more than 35,761-feet (10,900m) inside the two-person submersible named “Limiting Factor”, specially designed to submerge and resist 2.425 tons of pressure on its titanium hull.

Limiting Factor on the day of the visiting to the Challenger Deep by Kathryn Suvillan, ocean, space
Limiting Factor on the day of the visiting to the Challenger Deep by Kathryn Suvillan, June 7th, 2020.

It took about four hours to reach the bottom of the trench. Dr. Sullivan and Victor Vescovo spent about an hour and a half at the Challenge Deep capturing images, checking their support system, contemplating the bottom of the ocean, and enjoying the moment. “It was like a magic carpet ride,” said Kathryn Sullivan to the National Public Radio on the note of “Making History Again”. To make it better, when they resurfaced, EYOS Expeditions facilitated a call between the pair to call the International Space Station, which is the closest fitting representation of two extremes of humankind exploration!

“It’s important to believe in and celebrate the exploratory instinct in human beings. Exploring is not just about gadfly adventurers who want to go climb mountains or do exotic things.”

– Sullivan told CNN travel

In 2004 Dr. Kathryn Sullivan was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

NPR Choice page. (2020, 14 June). Recover from
Springer, B. C. K. (2020, 12 June). Former astronaut becomes first person to visit both space and the deepest place in the ocean. Recover from

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