Astronaut Kathy Sullivan Reaches The Challenger Deep

Keith's note: In light of recent turmoil in America from racial issues, a gloomy economic downturn, and pandemic disease, NASA has been trying to put forth a meme that the exploration of space is inspiring and that it can get people looking upward and forward to better times ahead.


Astronaut Kathy Sullivan just returned from a dive to the bottom of the Challenger Deep. She was the first American woman to walk in space and is now the first astronaut to both fly in space and visit the deepest place on our planet. In 2010 a piece of the summit of Mt. Everest plus 4 small Apollo 11 Moon rocks that went to the top of Everest were sent to the ISS and now reside within the cupola. Those rocks were brought back by Scott Parazynski, the first astronaut to both fly in space and stand atop the highest point on our planet. Astronaut Bob Behnken was on the STS-130 shuttle mission that delivered the rock to the ISS back in 2010. He just returned to the ISS on the first American commercial flight into orbit. What an amazing confluence of inspirational accomplishments - all with a nexus on board the ISS.

If I were running the NASA public Affairs Office (suspend belief for a moment, if you will) and I was trying to promote these inspirational exploration themes I'd have someone on NASA TV aboard the ISS look out of the cupola as they flew over the Pacific ocean. I'd have them say something profound and congratulatory, show the Everest rocks and the Apollo 11 moon rocks together a few feet away from the view from the cupola, and combine it all together into a push for exploration on Earth - and beyond. I'd then have them add how such feats of exploration can help us see beyond today's troubles - and that such daring things can be done equally well by men - and women - you know the whole Artemis thing. If I were running PAO, that is.

And oh yes The Challenger Deep was discovered by the H.M.S. Challenger, the namesake of Space Shuttle Challenger - the same space shuttle from which Kathy Sullivan conducted her spacewalk in 1984.

Apparently Kathy Sullivan did have a phone call with the ISS crew. But NASA has made no mention of it. A few years ago an astronaut was posting pictures he took from the ISS cupola as he flew over Mt. Everest and yet he made no mention of the piece of Everest located inches away from his right knee. No one remembers anything at NASA it would seem. No one bothers to use Wikipedia either. What use is an inspirational outpost in space - one that is poised on the cusp of an exciting tomorrow, if NASA ignores the chance to use it - whenever possible - to promote that exciting future?

All the only news from - or about - space that we have seen this past week is a half-assed rah rah political commercial using NASA footage and royalty free music.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on June 7, 2020 1:22 PM.

NASA OIG Investigation Into Boeing And Lunar Lander Contracts was the previous entry in this blog.

Hey NASA: The Artemis Generation Is Global is the next entry in this blog.

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