Kathy Sullivan, the first American woman to space walk, became in June 2020 the only person to have visited both space and the deepest place on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench.

Kathy Sullivan: The woman who’s made history in sea and space

Image copyright NASA

Making headlines is never something that has motivated Kathy Sullivan.

Already in the history books as the first US woman to complete a spacewalk in 1984, the 68-year-old found herself in the news again this week after becoming the first woman to travel almost seven miles (11km) to reach the lowest known point in the ocean.

The two missions, total opposites in the minds of some, represent two extremes of a lifelong passion for Dr Sullivan: to understand the world around her as much as possible.

“I was always a pretty adventurous and curious child with interests wider and more varied than the stereotype of a little girl,” Sullivan told the BBC in a phone interview from the Pacific Ocean.

She was born … Continue Reading (7 minute read)

5 thoughts on “Kathy Sullivan, the first American woman to space walk, became in June 2020 the only person to have visited both space and the deepest place on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench.”

  1. nowhereman136

    Up until 2019, only 3 people have ever been to the bottom of Challenger Deep. 2 scientists in the 60s and Titanic director James Cameron in 2012. As of today, a total of 13 people have made the trip down.

  2. foundingflounders

    I met her! She spoke to our policy fellowship class in DC when she was the head of NOAA. I asked what’s her secret to such a long, impactful, multifaceted career. She said “bloom where you are planted”. I later found out that’s a pretty common saying but it meant a lot to me coming from her.

  3. Brian_C_B

    Life has it’s highs and lows I guess…

  4. wdwerker

    Very rare accomplishment ! An expedition is selling a trip for $750,000. I think they pick you up in Guam. The sub ride down and back uptakes 14 hours .

  5. murielscapt

    Her ear drums have biceps.

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