Doctor Kathy Sullivan; first person to reach the deepest spot in the ocean and to walk in space.

Doctor Kathy Sullivan; first person to reach the deepest spot in the ocean and to walk in space.

Doctor Kathy Sullivan; first person to reach the deepest spot in the ocean and to walk in space.

Written by Tharusha Kumarasinghe

12 Jun, 2020 | 1:09 pm

(News 1st): Astronaut & Oceanographer – Kathy Sullivan, who was the first American woman to walk in space in 1984, became the first woman and the fifth person in history to descend to the deepest known spot in the world’s oceans; “Challenger Deep” in the Mariana Trench, which is 7 miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

Sullivan is now the only human who has walked in space and reached the deepest point in the ocean.

She made her descent in the two-person submersible (vehicles that can be operated underwater) “Limiting Factor” as part of Caladan Oceanic’s Ring of Fire Expedition.

Through the expedition, the team hopes to observe volcanic vents, identify new species and conduct the extensive mapping of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone at the request of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

According to NOAA, the average depth of the ocean is about 12,100 feet and the deepest part is called “Challenger Deep” which is located below the surface of the Western Pacific Ocean. It is approximately 36,200 feet deep.

In 1978, Doctor Sullivan joined NASA as part of the first group of U.S. astronauts to include women. On Oct. 11, 1984, she became the first American woman to walk in space.

She later became the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Doctor Sullivan had a longstanding fascination with the ocean before becoming an astronaut, she participated in one of the first attempts to use a submersible to study the volcanic processes that make the ocean crust.

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