Former NASA astronaut Dr. Kathy Sullivan presented Governor Lou Leon Guerrero and Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio with a flag of Guam that she took with her to the bottom of the Challenger Deep.
Sullivan was the first American woman to walk in space in 1984 and she has now become the first woman to descend to the deepest known part of the world’s oceans.
She returned to Guam Monday night aboard the research vessel ‘Pressure Drop’ along with expedition leader Victor Vescovo, her co-pilot on the dive.
“One thing that we did on my dive on June 7 was to take a flag of Guam down with us on the submarine. It rode outside so it’s been wet. But it’s dried out now and Victor and I both signed it,” Sullivan said.
“This submersible is absolutely unique. It’s the first time ever that a system has been built for a ship and its submersible and a team that can go repeatedly to any point at any depth in the ocean,” said Sullivan.
“So the Trieste went in 1960 and it was 52 years before Mr. (James) Cameron went down in about 2012. We did three dives in seven days. Wow. So that just gives you a sense of how radical the transformation that Caladan has built,” Sullivan said.
For her part, the governor said. “I am very humbled by this and when I look at this and look at your signature and Victor’s I’m going to remember good scientists who are making a remarkable difference and the remarkable work you’re doing and I’m glad that we have in any way contributed to that.”
“Guam has been an indispensable contributor as a jumping-off point and a launch point for expeditions like these to the most remote parts of the Pacific,” responded Sullivan. “So thank you to your team and your port authority folks for your hospitality.”
The Pressure Drop remains in port with Victor Vescovo and his crew for the next few days.
Then, it’s back to the Challenger deep to do what Vescovo said will be an exhaustive survey of the geography of the trench. And then they’ll be headed to the CNMI to dive the Northern Mariana Trench which is east-north-east of Saipan.