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Holy stardust: Vatican hosts conference for meteorite care

September 10, 2018

Pope Francis delivers a blessing as he recites the Angelus noon prayer from his studio's window overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican has long pondered the cosmos from afar but now it’s studying how to care for space bits that fall to Earth with a conference on meteorites, cosmic dust, stardust and extraterrestrial samples.

The Vatican Observatory is hosting the first-ever workshop for curators of meteorite collections Sept. 10-13 at its headquarters at the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolofo, south of Rome.

Organizers said Monday the conference will bring together meteorite and extraterrestrial sample curators from Europe, North America, Russia, Morocco and Japan to discuss best practices in caring for their collections.

The Vatican Observatory was founded in 1891 to help correct the notion that the Catholic Church was hostile to science. The perception has persisted in some circles since Galileo’s heresy trial 400 years ago.

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