Michael Gernhardt is a former commercial deep-sea oilfield diver, founder of Oceaneering Space Systems and former NASA astronaut. CONTRIBUTED

Join the History of Diving Museum on Wednesday, May 17 for an “Aquanauts to Astronauts” preview reception, followed by an Immerse Yourself presentation, “From the Deep Sea to Outer Space,” at 7 p.m. Michael Gernhardt, former commercial deep-sea oilfield diver, founder of Oceaneering Space Systems, and former NASA astronaut, will be speaking on his extraordinary career.

A seasoned astronaut and expert engineer, Gernhardt spent nearly 30 years at NASA supporting human space flight and over 43 days spent in space, including four spacewalks totaling 23 hours and 16 minutes. He led the installation of the International Space Station’s airlock and helped to pioneer breathing techniques to combat the risk of decompression sickness in space. 

In addition to his NASA career, Gernhardt was a professional deep-sea oilfield diver and founder of Oceaneering Space Systems. He has led the development of a variety of spacewalking tools, life support systems, and decompression procedures that continue to be used to this day.

Michael Gernhardt with NEEMO, or NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations, astronauts. CONTRIBUTED

During the lecture, Gernhardt will discuss how diving helped him become an astronaut, what he’s learned and the contributions he has made in his fields. Come early to catch a sneak peek of “Aquanauts to Astronauts,” which details the relationship between diving and space travel. The reception goes from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. and will include small hors d’oeuvres and access to the special exhibit. The last general exhibit ticket will be sold at 6:15 p.m., so RSVP today.

Those interested in attending the lecture in-person, reserve your seat today by calling the museum at 305-664-9737 or emailing the community outreach team at [email protected]. For those unable to attend in-person, visit for a virtual link. This session will also be recorded and posted to the HDM YouTube channel. The History of Diving Museum would like to thank our “Immerse Yourself” and exhibit sponsors: Divers Alert Network, the Florida Keys Tourism Development Council, the International Board of Undersea Medicine and the Ocean Reef Conservation Association.