Here's an article about a coin (or is it a medal?) aboard the International Space Station that is destined for the Vatican.
The Pope has made the first phone call to space: And, no, it wasn't to check on whether hundreds of thousands of people were travelling into the sky for today's predicted Rapture.
All joking aside, the chat between Pope Benedict XVI and the various astronauts on the International Space Station is the first such celestial conversation for the Holy See. Speaking via video link from the Vatican library, Benedict chatted with the astronauts for around twenty minutes—asking five questions and personally addressing Italian astronauts Roberto Vittori and Paolo Nespoli.
Benedict's questions often turned to the metaphorical aspects of the astronauts' lives on the space station--some 220 miles above the surface of the Earth and travelling at a speed of roughly 17,500 miles per hour.
"Space exploration is a fascinating scientific adventure. It's also an adventure of the human spirit, a powerful stimulus to reflect on the origins and the destiny of the universe and humanity," Benedict said.
"When we look up at the limitless heavens and meditate on the creation of it all, we are struck by the mysteries of His greatness. In the midst of your intense work and research, do you ever stop and reflect like this, perhaps even to say a prayer to the creator?"
Vittori had the answer for that one: He did. But to emphasize the point, the astronaut floated up a silver coin that had been given to him by Benedict himself prior to the astronaut's trip into space. The coin depicts Michelangelo's Creation of Man—a neat artifact to bring along on a space journey, but not one that Vittori plans to hold on to for much longer.
The astronaut plans to give the coin back to the Vatican next week following the conclusion of Vittori's five-month jaunt onboard the space station. At that point, said coin will have traveled more than three million miles through space.
The Pope concluded his conversation with the astronauts by offering them an apostolic blessing.
Does anyone have more information about the coin?
To read the complete article, see:
Pope Benedict Dials Up International Space Station
Wayne Homren, Editor
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