Papal astronomer celebrates Mars missions

As Perseverance, the latest probe on Mars, gears up to send to Earth high-definition images, video and audio of its surroundings, one papal astronomer said he hoped the fresh new discoveries will inspire future explorers.

With advanced degrees in physics, philosophy and theology, Jesuit Br. Robert Macke said, “What really inspired me to come into this field was growing up with the results that were coming out of the spacecraft missions, like Voyager, and all the photographs that nobody had ever seen before” of Saturn and its moons and other objects in the solar system.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1974, Macke told Catholic News Service he only “dabbled a little” in enjoying science fiction, influenced by his father’s interest in the genre, and he credits it with inspiring him to think of new ideas.

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