Rome

Premier tells astronaut he wants to go to space, leave Italy

'Beam me up'

Premier tells astronaut he wants to go to space, leave Italy

Rome, July 19 - Italian Premier Enrico Letta joked with astronaut Luca Parmitano in an earth-to-space video call Friday, saying he would like to abandon the helm of the eurozone's third-largest economy to join him on his next mission". "When you come back, I have a lot of questions to ask you, and if you have room on your next mission I would like to come too," Letta said. Parmitano, currently on board the International Space Station (ISS), told Letta he was "proud of Italy at a time when the national pastime appears to be that of speaking ill of the nation". "I want to prove that there is a young Italy that wants to do things," he said. Parmitano, an Italian Air Force captain, in May was sent to the space station for a six month mission. He is the first Italian to go on a space walk. Letta in turn told him that Italy will invest more in research and space. "Italy's leadership in terms of space is very strong, clear and consolidated. "We want to invest in research and in space".

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