Two extreme explorers will connect in a unique call Friday, Jan. 26, linking the depths of the ocean with the heights of Earth orbit. NASA and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Mass., will host the ultra-long distance call between International Space Station astronaut Sunita “Suni” Williams and marine biologist Tim Shank in the Alvin research submersible.

The call will take place at 1:45 p.m. CST, and will be broadcast tape-delayed on NASA Television between 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., immediately following the conclusion of a station status media briefing from NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston. Williams, orbiting 220 miles overhead, and Shank, conducting research two miles undersea in the Alvin submersible, will compare notes on science and exploration. Additionally, they will field questions submitted by students and educators.

Williams, a Massachusetts native and commander in the U.S. Navy, served as a diver and helicopter pilot prior to being selected as an astronaut. Williams was a member of a NASA crew in 2002 that lived underwater for nine days in the Aquarius habitat off the Florida coast. She boarded the space station on Dec. 11, 2006, as a flight engineer for the Expedition 14 crew, joining Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and fellow Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin. Williams will spend six months on the complex.

Shank, a marine biologist in the Woods Hole’s Department of Biology, is currently conducting research diving in the Alvin at the hydrothermal vent field on the East Pacific Rise. He is leading a National Science Foundation-funded research expedition as part of the RIDGE2000 program. Alvin is owned by the Navy and operated by Woods Hole as a part of the National Deep Submergence Facility.

For NASA TV downlink, schedules and streaming video information, and more information about the space station, visit: