South African rugby and soccer stars along with featherweight champ, Baby Jakes, chatted to Mark Shuttleworth during a live link to the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday morning.
Shuttleworth was wearing a Springbok rugby jersey to the delight of
Springbok rugby players Joost van der Westhuizen, Conrad Jantjes and Willie Meyer. Mark sent them good wishes for the season and told them to "put us back on top of the world". From his present position he said the view point of the top of the world is really awesome.
Having worn both a soccer and a ruby shirt in live interviews, Baby Jakes asked why he did not have boxing gloves. Shuttleworth said that he was "a bit battered and bruised" from floating around in zero gravity and said that he actually could do with a boxing helmet as he was constantly bumping his head.
Shuttleworth said that the experiments that are conducting in space are going "so far so good". He referred to himself as a "guinea pig" and showed a variety of patches and wires on his chest. The HIV virus experiment is also doing well. He said that the stem cell experiments have hit "a lot of engineering snags", which they were trying to find solutions to.
"The intricate glove work don't seem to work so well in zero gravity, but hopefully we will be able to bring back some space sheep."
Shuttleworth told Kaizer Chiefs striker Kenny Niemach that it is "an extraordinary experience" to realise one's dreams.
"Everyone has their own dreams that you must pursue with everything you've got."
Cricketer Makhaya Ntini asked Shuttleworth what he can see from up in space. Mark said "The view from up here is incredible. I can see towns, rivers and glimpses of cities.
"We can see the universe incredibly clearly. You can see double the amount of stars. The moon and sun is just incredible from up here," Shuttleworth said.
Everyone laughted when he said that he got a terrible fright when he looked out of the window during his first night and saw two eyes staring back at him. It took about three seconds to register that what he was seeing was his own reflection and not a little green man!
When asked about how he felt about being so far away from family and friends, he remarked that they must have similar feelings when they go on tour . On a more spiritual and personal level he said that one
of the things he looks forward to most on his return to Earth, is to spend "long quiet time with the people that matter most".
"And I have a strong desire to take care of this incredible planet."