Hi all, am still feeling a little worst for wear after the radiation poisoning and am not feeling overly creative today but I don’t want to leave you all hanging, especially as your correspondence continues to come in so today I will address some of that.

To the many of you who want to know what happened with Claire, and why we broke up, you will need to keep reading. I have quite a privileged position here of being able to transmit my completely self-exculpatory version of events and since I assume Claire is equally able, if she chooses to speak up, to provide her side of the story, I’ll do it in my time and pace and as it best fits around the more meaningful space related stuff. It’s ironic that there seems to be a genuine curiosity about US given that I’m here but that’s human nature I suppose.

Over to you.

Teena, from Sydney, asks: “Are you regretting being up there all alone yet?”

The answer is no and I don’t think I will.

I don’t mind being alone really, and I remain excited about my mission and what’s yet to come.

I think the idea that this is tedious or extreme is misguided. Take an average single person in an average city. Sure they have family and friends but as an absolute number that’s maybe 20 people they see regularly, the rest are acquaintances, work colleagues, strangers, service people. And how much time do they spend together? Maybe 5-6 hours a week? If that?

I don’t think the loss is as extreme as you may be imagining for someone like me, relatively sure, it’s a huge drop in social contact, but in absolute terms it’s marginal.

Trent from Ogden in Utah, 11, asks: : “Be honest, have you seen any aliens up there?”

Trent, I wish, that would be so cool. I think if there’s one thing this mission can convince us all of is that wherever there are aliens, they’re not hanging around in our solar system, waiting for someone to start flying about to make first contact.

I’m sure you know about the Drake equation, and if not do look it up, but it suggests the probability of alien life existing being able to make contact with us. If I understand it properly, the equation is a little difficult to calculate, because we know so little, but roughly, it’s definitely out there, it may be nearish, but likely not that near and even then it would be difficult for us to make contact in a useful way.

Two of the unknown parameters relate specifically to how civilisations make themselves known in space, having the technology and then for how long. In our case I’m maybe the best signal we’ve released so far!

Short answer: no; long answer: let’s keeping our eyes open.

Thanks everyone for your questions, keep sending them through. I read and think about them even if I don’t post them.

My Culture Pad