Each phase of my life is covered in much detail in separate sections, but as a quick overview, I would summarize it as follows.
My life transformed the most during my university years when I eventually dedicated my life to trying to help humankind in my generation. I have spent most of my life in this mode, though there was a period from between 2002-2008 when I was in financial survival mode trying to support my family, my "Lost Years" as regards humanistic work.
Before my university years, I grew up in my early years largely in green nature where I had a few friends but more enjoyed being a happy loner with a curiosity about the world and the universe, and I also read a lot in my early years, such as a home encyclopedia and other selected books, plus my mother took us to a big library from time to time. I was very introverted and had a big imagination.
In my teenage years, I became very social, and lived a fairly normal teenage life. A big suburban neighborhood grew up around my home, with new roads and construction, and lots of new kids moving in from other parts of the country.
However, in my university years, I reverted back to being much more of a loner than average, and spent vast amounts of time reading in the library about things which had nothing to do with my classwork or degree, mainly about technology and the world. I eventually got a B.Sc. in physics with minors in mathematics and political science. I had switched my major from mechanical engineering to physics, and could have gotten a second degree in engineering if I had stayed on for a little more than a year longer, but instead I packed up and moved to the Washington, D.C., area, wanting to try to make a difference somehow in politics.
Back in my earliest years in life, I was raised Christian but stopped believing a lot of things when I became around school age, and evolution became my understanding of the world, a kind of evolutionary follower of Jesus and many moral teachings of Christianity, but I did not believe a lot of the teachings. I started to see the teachings about "Heaven" as a selfish interest of people, and simplistic, so my belief declined and changed. (Same for "Hell", which made less sense.) I became more selfless towards the world, especially from college onwards. In 2008, I started following a Buddhist lifestyle.
During my mid university years, I discovered professional publications on mining and space settlement of the Moon, asteroids near Earth, and orbital space, following the vision of Dr. Gerard K. O'Neill and his group. This was not science fiction, this was real proposals for NASA and business in current times, which could start to be implemented. I had earlier followed the Apollo Program as a kid in the 1960s and early 1970s, been inspired by the 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, and been interested in science fiction by Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov. However, O'Neill's work was for real.
That became my mission in life, but for a different reason than nearly all other people I knew who were interested in space settlement, in that I saw early on that advances in biotechnology would eventually threaten to make humankind extinct within Earth's biosphere, so I had a sense of urgency. It was like Dr. Carl Sagan discussed on the famous TV series Cosmos, that maybe life which evolved elsewhere in the Universe into a technological civilization might have destroyed itself by its own advanced technology. But which advanced technology? It was either nuclear weapons or biotechnology.
Many other people were interested in space settlement because they thought it was cool or imaginatively exciting. Yes, it was those things, too, but cool and exciting things come and go, and there's always something else cool and exciting coming next, so that many people are transient in their interests. Some people wanted to go to space but that didn't appeal to me. I committed to trying to save humankind and the environment on Earth.
I spent tremendous amounts of time collecting and reading professional research materials in this field, real engineering studies, and developed a lot of expertise.
After graduation from the university, I looked for paid work which was relevant to this field, but there wasn't much at all, and too many senior people competing for too little work. The U.S. government didn't take much interest in this topic, and it even received ridicule from Congressional politicians at the time. What work did get funded tended to go to established inside people, and was just a little bit. There were many others interested in this work, but there were far too many senior, much more experienced, and highly qualified people (many Ph.D. holders) than there was funded work, and funding was small and slow to get.
I thought that groups which followed the O'Neill concepts were not promoting them well, so I got involved in organizations and tried to help out, but went up against peoples' turf and was discouraged -- many saw me as a competitor. It was a very small pyramid. Also, I was very limited in what I was allowed to do within organizations.
I did agree that we needed to try to find a way to get some private sector entities or a philanthropic investor interested in space resources and space settlements, since the government wasn't significantly interested, and the private sector also could do things more innovatively. The world was awash with money, but none of it was going into space resources. Was it just bad marketing?
At one point, I decided to just start my own clearinghouse of information, both online by BBS in 1985 (before internet was mainstream), by printed "briefs" written for laymen such as potential philanthropic investors, and a large library of collected professional publications (at my own expense). Eventually, I created my own organizational brand, PERMANENT, an acronym for Projects to Employ Resources of the Moon and Asteroids Near Earth in the Near Term.
I worked for awhile at the U.S. Patent Office and then in advanced planning in the Pentagon space program.
During those fulltime jobs, on evenings and weekends I taught myself about computers -- software, modem networks, and personal computer hardware -- motivated by developing PERMANENT, especially the online version. I developed PERMANENT, plus did a lot of social networking in the D.C. area with nonprofit organizations and others, trying to promote PERMANENT while also just trying to help people with computers and networking. I was busy day and night.
It was very frustrating working in advanced planning in the space program but finding almost nobody among my professional colleagues interested in mining the Moon or asteroids, space industrialization and space settlement. Establishment people just followed what was already funded by Congress, competed in jobs for a limited budget, and there was almost nobody among them interested in PERMANENT concepts, as they were mainly interested only in catering to the people above who had the money and their own special interests. It was difficult to do the 8 to 5 job grind on wasteful things, and then in addition spend time working evenings and weekends on PERMANENT and at my own expense.
Eventually, I saw that I could actually switch careers to computer consulting, which at the time would benefit a lot of humanistic organizations. Working as a consultant to a wide variety of organizations and people also had a lot of appeal as regards learning about the world and human nature far outside of my narrow job specialization and the "Ivory Tower", and I hoped to get a good business going.
I did years of interesting consulting work for a variety of organizations and companies, U.S. government agencies, and individuals.
In 1994, I happened to get an opportunity to travel overseas, to where an Asia Regional Office was located, in Bangkok, Thailand. I took the opportunity as another adventure, to travel internationally, learn about other cultures, and see more things outside of the US and the Washington, D.C., area.
That now seems like a big mistake, as internet was about to take off in the US, especially with Windows 95 about to come out, so I missed that huge wave.
Instead, I came out switching to computer consulting to engineering and construction multinationals in Thailand, which was very interesting and kept me very busy, and I made good money as a consultant ... until the 1997 Asia Economic Crash.
After the 1997 crash, I was mostly idle, and took that time to live off of savings and write and self-publish the PERMANENT book, which had been a long time goal. I also created a good PERMANENT website for the world which was the book online plus a lot more.
Eventually, I ran out of money, when the economy was very slow to rebound.
I had married and had a daughter, Angela, in 1996, so I was in a bind.
By the early 2000s, I had to stop working on PERMANENT in order to focus on making real money to survive.
The years from around 2002-2008 are my "Lost Years".
In 2008, I met my soul mate and second Thai wife, Kanta, nickname "Na", after which my life improved dramatically. We have been inseparable in our love and in our business ever since.
I resumed work on PERMANENT and other humanistic websites.
We had our ups and downs as regards business, but we have always had a good home and family life, from 2008 onwards. I also focused more on my health, and practicing Buddhist principles such as the 8 steps. I returned to the USA with Angie and Na for a year in 2014-2015 so Angie could complete high school in the USA and to spend time with my family.
When President Trump started the Artemis program in 2017 to settle and industrialize the lunar south polar region, where water ice and other key elements for life support and farming exist in abundance, within craters and extremely cold permanently shadowed regions (PSRs), and then the Artemis Accords came out in 2020 for international commercial and governmental development, I further ramped up PERMANENT and its related humanistic websites and promotional materials again, and started looking at how I can best contribute, though outside the USA.
Below are details on each phase of my life, which began and ended based on particular major events:
mark-prado.com > History
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