Pope Francis’ message of unity is now being transmitted from space through a satellite carrying a nanobook of his teachings.
The purpose of the launch into Earth’s orbit is to foster innovative methods of showcasing and promoting “the seed of hope,” according to the Vatican.
After receiving a blessing from Pope Francis during a General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the satellite, which weighs less than six pounds, embarked on its journey aboard Space X’s Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
The space mission draws inspiration from a significant moment during the papacy during the COVID-19 pandemic: In late March 2020, the pope delivered a message of unity in an empty St. Peter’s Square on a rainy evening, symbolizing the world’s collective struggle with the impacts of the viral scourge.
During a news conference, Monsignor Lucio Adriàn Ruiz, secretary of the Vatican communication department, said, “If that evening Pope Francis, from St. Peter’s Square, used the colonnade as a symbol of embrace to all of humanity, with the voyage of this satellite we wish to prolong that embrace.”
Details are documented in the book, Why Are You Afraid? Have You No Faith? now transformed with nanotechnology, Religion News Service reports.
The National Research Council of Italy accomplished the task by encoding the book’s content onto a tiny silicon plate.
“For those of us who are used to seeing space as the privileged place from which to observe the world and communicate to it without borders, it was easy to imagine a quick, humble and effective solution to offer wings to the Holy Father’s message,” Giorgio Saccoccia, president of the Italian Space Agency, said in a Vatican news statement.
The satellite, constructed by the Polytechnic University of Turin and managed by the Italian Space Agency, houses the message delivered by the pope on March 27, 2020, along with the names of all individuals involved in the project.
The mission’s emblem unifies the representations of Christ, the Virgin Mary, the Holy Trinity, and the pope, encircling a stylized depiction of Earth, formed using the initials of the Holy See.
Throughout its orbit, the satellite will transmit brief messages of hope from Catholic popes, symbolizing the continuity of the Church’s message throughout history.
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