Mihai Pruna

Mihai Pruna and Space Exploration

Mihai Pruna believes that commercial interests will open the Solar System for exploration and colonization. First off, an affordable launch vehicle which can be mass produced and reused needs to be developed. New technologies such as 3D printing and new materials such as graphene might help with that.

Then there is the simple question of "why are we going up there?". Purely scientific endeavors are fine, but they should be followed by resource exploitation by companies, and thus by the creation of settlements. Government-only funded manned bases on the Moon and Mars will likely never happen. The reason for that is simple. Without a financial incentive, support from politicians will eventually waver. Sometimes, visionaries with money will step in to set new bold goals for space adventure. Mihai Pruna is excited about Elon Musk's plan for the colonization of Mars. 

Exploration and colonization, like the Americas for instance, was motivated by valuable resources. Gold and spices were sought after and early explorers, funded by monarchs, looked for these items. Exploitation followed with settlers.  Space is different. The Americas were fertile lands where settlers could become self-sufficient in a short time. Unless we achieve mastery of converting raw materials into devices and ecosystems using asteroids and solar energy, space colonists will never be truly independent of Earth. 

But, first things first. Mihai Pruna believes a robust occupancy of Low Earth Orbit, with microgravity manufacturing facilities, both manned and unmanned, would open up the way for further exploitation or the cislunar space. SpaceX ,manufacturer of rocket and spacecraft, and Bigelow Aerospace, with its proven inflatable space stations, might be able to offer, in the next decade, the means to settle LEO and actually make a profit from it.

It is not yet known whether we can safely travel to Mars, or live there. Therefore, Mihai Pruna believes focus should be put, for now, on short duration missions in Low Earth Orbits. Experiments with artificial gravity should follow as the mission duration is extended beyond one year. 

 

 Links:

Reusable Rocket

Elon Musk's Plan for Mars

SpaceX

Bigelow Aerospace Company

Bigelow Aerospace Space Station Experiment

Vision Deterioration on the Way to Mars