Dorin Prunariu is a Romanian cosmonaut. He flew on the Soyuz 40 mission to the Salyut 6 space station. Between 1998 and 2004, he was President of the Romanian Space Agency, and is now vice-chair of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS) Working Group on “Space Agenda 2030”. He is also the vice-president of the Asteroid Foundation, which is responsible for Asteroid Day. The Asteroid Foundation’s goal is to promote worldwide awareness, understanding, and education about asteroid opportunities and risks and the emerging space economy. In 2017, for his work connected with Near Earth Objects and for his central role in the promotion of Asteroid Day as an international day recognised by the UN General Assembly, asteroid “10707 Prunariu” was named after him.
In conversation with Lisa Burke, Dorin tells about his long interest in asteroids, starting in 2005 when the Association of Space Explorers began to organise a series of international workshops on asteroids and the potential threat they pose to Earth. He describes how he took the report that came out of those events to the United Nations to inform their position on near-Earth asteroids. As well as such top level work, he also talks about his work with the Asteroid Foundation to inform the public about asteroids, and with the International Academy of Astronautics to bring experts together every year to discuss asteroids and how to protect the Earth from any that stray to close.