Legal Aspects of Planetary Defence
Publisher: Irmgard Marboe
Impacts by asteroids or comets on Earth may lead to natural disasters of catastrophic dimensions, one of the most devastating having caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Space agencies and other actors are increasingly dedicated to the development of technology to predict and mitigate such risks. The high relevance in this topic is also reflected in recent tests conducted by NASA: The possibility of deflecting asteroid moon Dimorphos from its orbit as part of the DART programme was tested.
At the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Paris, the book "Legal Aspects of Planetary Defence" edited by Irmgard Marboe, professor of International Law at the University of Vienna, was awarded the "Social Sciences Book Award" from the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). The book addresses legal aspects of "planetary defence", activities aiming at identifying hazards posed by asteroids and comets, so-called Near Earth Objects (NEOs), and developing ways to avert their impact on Earth.
The legal aspects include issues of responsibility and liability for damage caused by such activities (or their failure), procedural issues of decision-making and selection of methods. Professor Frans von der Dunk from the University of Nebraska, editor of the series "Studies in Space Law", in which the book appeared, accepted the award, the highest book distinction of the IAA, on behalf of Irmgard Marboe in Paris. The IAA is an international non-governmental organisation of space experts that aims to promote the exploration of the solar system and the peaceful uses of outer space.
Irmgard Marboe is the head of the National Point of Contact for Space Law (NPOC Space Law Austria), which is situated at the Department for European, International and Comparative Law of the Law Faculty and supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action (BMK) and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).