Head of NASA discusses peace at Vatican: “As I orbited Earth, I did not see racial divisions”

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16/05/2024
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Bill Nelson was the second-ever sitting member of U.S. Congress to fly to space. Now, after serving as a U.S. Senator for 18 years, he is head of NASA.

He recently traveled to the Vatican for the World Meeting on Human Fraternity. His dicussions of world peace with Nobel prize winners led him to reflect on the perspective he gained from his time in space. In 1986, Senator Bill Nelson orbited Earth 98 times over the course of six days.

BILL NELSON
NASA Administrator
I did not see racial division. I did not see religious division. I did not see political division. All of those things that bedevil us here on the face of the Earth. From your perspective in space, we're all in this together as citizens of planet Earth.

Senator Nelson says that “space has the special power to unify us all.” But he also believes that Pope Francis holds this unique capacity as well.

BILL NELSON
NASA Administrator
I think it is particularly this pope, Pope Francis, that is such a healer, a reconciler, a pope that brings people together instead of all these divisions on the planet that we engage in everyday.

During his time in Rome, Senator Nelson also met with the President of the Italian Space Agency to discuss the historic work that the two nations have achieved together.


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