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Pope Francis Speaks With Cosmonauts On International Space Station

U.S. astronaut and mission commander Randy Bresnik, who served in U.S. Marine flying combat missions in Iraq, said that humanity's future looked brighter from their perspective on the station, as from space there are "no borders, there is no conflict, it's just peaceful".

One perk that comes with floating aboard the International Space Station is NASA arranges for occasional calls with celebrities to keep the astronauts' spirits high during their months-long flights.

In response to the pope's questions about man's place in the universe, Vande Hei said that observing the planet from space made him "realize how fragile we are".

He asked Nespoli, "What are your thoughts regarding the place of man in the universe?"

During his 23-minute call from the Vatican Library in Rome, Italy, the pope spoke in Italian and Nespoli translated for his fellow crew members. "When we speak of these much more internal questions of where we come from, I remain rather perplexed".

"Our aim here is to spread knowledge, (but) the more we learn, the more we realise we do not know", admitted Nespoli, who is on his third trip into space.

"What gives me the greatest joy is to look outside every day and see God's creation - maybe a little bit from his perspective", Bresnik added.

Saying society today is very individualistic, but what is needed is collaboration, the pope asked them how the ISS is an example of that collaboration.

He added: "People can not come up here and see the indescribable beauty of our Earth and not be touched in their souls". Ryazanskiy's grandfather had worked on the launch of the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik, which launched in 1957.

Ryazanskiy told the pope he was honored to continue his family's legacy.

The pope then asked the astronauts to muse about the nature of love, quoting the poet Dante Alighieri who referred in the "Divine Comedy" to love as the force that moves the sun and the stars.

Francis wasted no time in getting down to the really big questions about the meaning of life and love. It is the ultimate human experiment, showing that people from diverse backgrounds can band together to solve some of the most daunting problems facing the world. Nespoli was on his second mission at the ISS during when Benedict XVI called, and said he was glad to have the opportunity to speak with another pontiff during this mission. Among the small number of personal possessions the devout Catholic is allowed onboard, he keeps a prayer card of St. Padre Pio and an olive branch he received from Pope Francis as a reminder of the importance of taking care of earth "our common home".



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