Astronauts give Pope Francis a custom-made spacesuit with white cape
Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli and four of his colleagues have presented a custom-made flight suit to Pope Francis last week during their visit to the Vatican.
According to Catholic News Service, the five astronauts met with the Pope at the Vatican on June 8 as part of their post-flight tour of Italy.
Nespoli said that the flight suit was made of similar material to the ones they use. The suit given to the pope included a white mantle or a short cape to distinguish him from other space travelers.
"Since clothes make the man, we thought we'd have a flight suit like ours made for you," Nespoli told Francis, as reported by Reuters. In response, the pope quipped, "OK, and you will plan my trip."
The custom-made suit was inscribed with the pope's birth name, Jorge Bergoglio. It was also affixed with the flag of his native country, Argentina. The white cape displayed the official NASA wings logo and the Vatican flag, along with the name "Pope Francis," according to Reuters.
The delegation had requested a meeting with the Pope after speaking with him via satellite while the astronauts were aboard the International Space Station.
During the 20-minute video call, Francis reportedly said that the astronauts were privileged to be able to view earth "from the eyes of God."
Other members of the delegation who visited the Vatican included Commander Randy Bresnik from Fort Knox, Kentucky; Joe Acaba from Inglewood, California; Mark Vande Hei from Falls Church, Virginia; and Sergey Ryazanskiy from Moscow.
"It was interesting seeing the Catholics on our crew, the Eastern Orthodox crew members, to see everybody energized by talking with the pope, with what he represents," Bresnik said about the video call, according to Catholic News Service.
He said that he was delighted that he was able to tell the pope during the video link about the view of the planet from space.
"There aren't any clashes. You just see this little tiny atmosphere that is the difference between life and death on this planet," the astronaut recalled, as reported by Catholic News Service.
Bresnik's 12-year-old son, Wyatt, had asked Francis to sign the Bible that his father had taken to space.
Acaba said he believes that participation of astronauts from different countries at the International Space Station is crucial to humanity's pursuit of peace. He contended that the "space station is important to a lot of countries so we all learn to work together to keep that project going."