Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan met Pope Francis in the Vatican on Monday. During their visit, Zuckerberg had a conversation about technology with the pontiff and gave him a unique gift: a model of Facebook’s Aquila drone.
“Together they spoke about how to use communications technology to alleviate poverty, encourage a culture of encounter, and to communicate a message of hope, especially to the most disadvantaged,” said Vatican press office director Greg Burke in a statement.
Zuckerberg took to Facebook to share his experience meeting with the 266th Pope of the roman Catholic Church.
“We told [the Pope] how much we admire his message of mercy and tenderness, and how he's found new ways to communicate with people of every faith around the world,” wrote Zuckerberg in a Facebook post. “We also discussed the importance of connecting people, especially in parts of the world without internet access. We gave him a model of Aquila, our solar-powered aircraft that will beam internet connectivity to places that don't have it. And we shared our work with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to help people around the world.”
Facebook’s Aquila drone—a solar-powered plane designed to fly 60,000 to 90,000 feet in the air that will provide remote areas of the world with Internet connection. According to Facebook, the goal is to keep the aircraft airborne for 90 days to “beam broadband coverage to a 60-mile-wide area on the ground.” Earlier this summer, the aircraft completed its first successful flight in Yuma, Arizona and stayed in the air for over an hour. Made of carbon fiber composite, the device weighs under 1,000 pounds and has a wingspan bigger than a Boeing 737 airplane.