Pope speaks with Astronauts for the first time

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Pope Benedict XVI spoke with astronauts on the International Space Station on Saturday, marking the first time a pope has spoken with astronauts in orbit.

The call, organised by the European Space Agency (ESA), originated from the Vatican Library at 7.11am Eastern time. Aboard the spacecraft were Italian, US, and Russian crew members of the Endeavour STS-134 mission and Expedition 27.

Endeavour Commander and US astronaut Mark Kelly greeted the pontiff aboard the station. The Pope wished Kelly’s wife Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords well as she recovers from an attempted assassination which took place in January.

Benedict XVI also asked the astronauts what their impressions were of the planet from space.

In response, Kelly said:

“We fly over most of the world and we don’t see borders, but at the same time we realize that people fight with each other and there is a lot of violence in this world.”