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Bucharest, May 10 /Agerpres/ - Two asteroids have been named Marius-Iona and Prunariu, after Chairman of the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) Marius-Ioan Piso, and after the first and only Romanian astronaut Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu, respectively, according to a circular released by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in April 2017.

The names have been suggested by the Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy, says ROSA in a press statement.

"(10466) Marius-Ioan is an asteroid discovered on March 1st, 1981. It has a diameter of 2.6 km, a semi-major axis of 2.332 astronomical units (A.U.) and a period of revolution of 1301 days. The asteroid can reach a minimum distance from Earth of 1.13 A.U. Its name now honours the professional activity of Dr. Phys. Marius-Ioan Piso. His name is linked to the establishment of the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) in 1991 and the achievement of the organisation's independency four years later, to the founding of the Institute of Space Science, but also to the Romania and European Space Agency (ESA) cooperation's start. Due to his constant concern regarding space research and technology development in Romania, this cooperation resulted in the country's accession to the European Space Agency in January 2011," according to ROSA.

Marius-Ioan Piso is the incumbent chairman and executive director of ROSA (ROSA), as well as a member on the Consultative Council of the International Academy of Astronautics (since 2006), a national representative on the NATO Science and Technology Committee (since 2004), a board member of the Consultative Group on Space Technologies with NATO's Research and Technology Organisation (since 2005), as well as Romania's representative to the European Space Agency (since 1998).

" The (10707) Prunariu asteroid was discovered the same year, in 1981, on October 24th. With a diameter of 6.0 km and a semi-major axis of 2.431 A.U. it revolves around the Sun in 1385 days. This asteroid can reach a minimum distance from Earth of 0.87 A.U. Its name is now connected to the first and only Romanian cosmonaut who, at the age of 28, flew aboard Soyuz 40 to the Salyut 6 space laboratory during an 8-day long mission," says ROSA.

Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu is Honorary President of the Romanian Space Agency and Vice-chairman of the International Relations Committee of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu, through the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and with the support of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), was actively involved in adopting the UN Declaration which proclaims 30 June as International Asteroid Day - an initiative meant to raise awareness of the asteroid impact hazard and mitigation methods to protect the Earth. AGERPRES (RO - author: Roberto Stan, editor: Mihai Simionescu; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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