It’s Day 85 of sheltering in place in Berkeley, CA. And while I sit and ponder headlines of pandemic, protests, injustice, and massive unemployment, I finally found news to celebrate.
The news? Astonishingly, the first American woman to walk in space has also become the first woman to reach the deepest known point in the ocean.
Yes, thirty-six years after her historic spacewalk, astronaut/oceanographer Kathy Sullivan accomplished her equally historic 35,810-foot dive to the Challenger Deep this past week.
This dive makes Dr. Sullivan the first person to both walk in space and to descend to the deepest spot in the ocean.
The Challenger Deep is approximately seven miles down in the Mariana Trench, located 200 miles from Guam.
She and her fellow scientist spent about an hour and a half at that depth in a deep-sea research submersible before beginning their ascent back up which took four hours.
In a sweet touch, upon returning to their ship, they called the astronauts aboard the International Space Station, around 254 miles above the earth.
Dr. Sullivan made her own historic spacewalk in 1984.
To the Couch and Not One Step Beyond
Now, as I read about Dr. Sullivan’s daring exploits up high and down low, I admit I was somewhat chagrined. You see I have acrophobia. Last night Handsome Hubby and I saw the movie The Aeronauts, based loosely on the 1862 balloon flight which set the altitude record of more than 30,000 feet. Dizzy and shaking, I couldn’t watch most of the aerial shots. “What’s happening now?” I kept asking. As you can imagine, I missed at least two-thirds of the movie.
Just for the record, Dr. Sullivan set her latest record at age 68. By any measure, this is an inspiring person. And on Day 85, don’t we need all the role models we can get?