Pope Benedict XVI spoke Saturday with the astronauts aboard the international space station, specifically mentioning Cmdr. Mark Kelly's wife, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is recuperating from recent surgery on her skull.
"I know that Mark and his wife were the victim of a serious attack, and I hope that her health continues to improve," the pope said.
Kelly thanked the pope for mentioning Giffords. The Arizona congresswoman was shot in the head in a January assassination attempt.
The two men also talked about how technology used in space may be able to help relations between people on Earth.
"I think it must be obvious to you how we all live together on one Earth, and how absurd it is that we fight and kill each one," the pontiff said.
"We fly over most of the world and we don't see borders, but at the same time we realize that people fight with each other and there is a lot of violence in this world," Kelly said.
Unlike on Earth, technology on the space station allows for almost unlimited power from the sun, he said.
"If these technologies could be adopted more on Earth, we could possibly reduce some of that violence," he said.
The space shuttle Endeavour launched Monday on a 16-day mission.