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“From space, we are all citizens of Earth” to NASA chief

“From space, we are all citizens of Earth” to NASA chief

In an interview with Vatican News, the head of NASA, the US federal agency responsible for space programmes, highlighted the importance of cooperation between the Holy See and the United States in the field of space. For Bill Nelson, space travel provides valuable lessons about human brotherhood.

Deborah Castellano LeBoeuf – Vatican City

I am very happy that the Vatican is so involved in space issues, through its observatory, which says a lot about exploring the skyComing to Rome to attend the Second Global Meeting on Human Fraternity, #BeHuman this weekend, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told Vatican News of his happiness to see the Holy See participating in space exploration. Those who have led and trained space missions see space as offering a valuable human lesson for brotherhood. Humanity.

Bill Nelson, a former senator, also visited Italy this week as part of NASA's efforts to strengthen space relations around the world and support peaceful space exploration. He met with the head of the Italian Space Agency to discuss current and future collaborations, which include the Artemis program, which targets a trip to the moon by 2026, the International Space Station, exploration of Mars and Venus, and Earth study missions. Talk to Vatican News.

Many are unaware of the long-standing cooperation between the United States and the Holy See in space exploration. Can you enlighten us about this valuable cooperation?

Most people don't even know about the Vatican Observatory and its interest in space dating back to the days of Copernicus and Galileo, and fueled by the Vatican's interest in science.

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Interestingly, one of the Vatican Observatory scientists is participating with us, NASA, in the OSIRIS-REx mission, which aimed to collect a sample from an asteroid and return it to Earth. A sample of this asteroid, called Bennu, is now at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Scientists have begun to examine it, and one of them is here in the Vatican.

The fact that the Vatican has an observatory speaks volumes about exploring the sky. I remember the first line from Genesis that the astronauts chanted when they orbited the moon for the first time: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth“This was the Apollo 8 mission during Christmas 1968. When they orbited the far side of the Moon and suddenly saw the Earth, with these words they addressed the inhabitants of the Earth. I am very glad that the Vatican is involved in space issues through its observatory.

The Vatican Observatory, located on the heights of Castel Gondolfo.

The Vatican Observatory, located on the heights of Castel Gondolfo.

You are also in Rome for the 2nd Global Meeting of #BeHuman on May 11. Why participate?

First, the organizers invited me to give a presentation to the participants, most of them Nobel Peace Prize laureates, about the Earth and how we see it from space. In fact, the Earth is so beautiful, so colorful, and at the same time, it seems so fragile, suspended in nothingness in space.

I also explained to them that when I traveled into space 38 years ago, as I orbited the Earth every 90 minutes, I saw no racial divisions, no religious divisions, and no political divisions. When you look at Earth from space, you realize that we are all citizens of Planet Earth.

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Since the topic of the meeting was issues of peace, reconciliation and human rights, they invited me to make some preliminary comments, which I was happy to make, about my view of the Earth from space.

How do you receive the teachings of Pope Francis?

Pope Francis does what he says. The two great commandments that Jesus of Nazareth gave are to love God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength. The second of the great commandments is to love your neighbor as yourself. And I think that's what Pope Francis preaches all the time. He walks his talk.