VATICAN CITY – The cold-call pope is setting his sights set heavenward by ringing astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
Pope Francis' hookup Thursday marks the second papal phone call to space: Pope Benedict XVI rang the space station in 2011, and peppered its residents with questions about the future of the planet and the environmental risks it faced.
Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli was aboard the orbiting lab for that call and will be on hand to chat with Francis, who considered a career in chemistry before becoming a priest.
Francis' papacy has been marked by his concern for the environment, as well as his firm belief in the compatibility of faith and science. It was a fellow Jesuit, the Rev. Georges Lemaitre, who first hypothesized the Big Bang theory in 1927.