Thirty-six years after becoming the first American woman to walk in space, Kathy Sullivan has made history yet again. On Sunday, the 68-year-old oceanographer and former NASA astronaut became the first woman to reach the deepest known spot in the ocean after returning from a 35,810-foot dive from the Challenger Deep. At the same time, she also became the first person in history to have both walked in space and descended to the deepest part of the earth.
The Challenger Deep is an almost 7-mile deep depression located approximately 200 miles off Guam's coast in the Mariana Trench. Dr. Sullivan and Victor Vescovo, the former Navy officer and entrepreneur who helped fund the expedition, spent about an hour-and-a-half in Challenger Deep photographing the recess while inside a specially designed submersible called Limiting Factor. After returning to the surface, which took approximately four hours, the two got in touch with astronauts aboard the International Space Station, who had made history themselves just days earlier.