Image courtesy of Eric Simms

From: Eric Simms
East Pacific Rise, January 26, 2007

Houston, We Have a Phone Call!

"Alvin, this is the International Space Station Alpha, how do you hear us? Over."

These words started one of the farthest-reaching long-distance phone calls in history this afternoon when astronaut Sunita "Suni" Williams initiated a phone conversation with oceanographer Tim Shank. That may not sound remarkable - except that Suni was over 200 miles above Earth in the International Space Station while Tim was nearly two miles beneath the ocean's surface in the Alvin research submersible. Hereís Tim standing in front of Alvin prior to the dive.

The two explorers spent about 20 minutes discussing the similarities and differences between their work environments, what they each study, and what it is like to live in space and at sea. They also talked about swapping places one day, just to see what each otherís research environment is like Ė ah, just like a true explorer.

The phone call was recorded and broadcast over the Internet, and many of us onboard the R/V Atlantis listened in from the shipís computer lab. You can still hear the broadcast on the web for the next few weeks. Click here to go to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution website for more instructions.

And donít forget to visit the SEAS cruise log for more on this story. See the log entries on January 25th and 26th. This cruise sure is exciting!!

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Postcards from the Field: Deep Sea

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