University of Otago PhD candidate Maria Pozza is heading off to Cambridge University next year after she was awarded a fellowship for her research into law in outer space. Photo by Linda Robertson.
A University of Otago PhD candidate researching arms control
in outer space was ''blown away'' when asked to spend two
months at Cambridge University to study the topic further.
Maria Pozza was awarded a fellowship from the Cambridge
University's Lauterpacht Centre for International Law and
intends to take up the position next August after finishing
her doctorate ''The International Law and Policy of Outer
Space: A New Perspective on Arms control''.
Ms Pozza said she intended to spend the two months at
Cambridge having a further look at some of the questions she
had raised while studying towards her doctorate.
One of the reasons she decided to study the topic was the
lack of law when it came to governing outer space, including
in the area of arms control.
This raised several issues, as while the Outer Space Treaty
of 1967 banned nuclear weapons and weapons of mass
destruction from space, there was a ''grey area'' when it
came to what else could be defined as a weapon in space.
For instance, there was a question as to whether GPS
satellites used by the military to identify bombing targets
should be defined as weapons, she said.
This lack of law created problems, highlighted by North
Korea's launch of a satellite into space last week, which was
condemned by the international community as a military act.
Ms Pozza said she would propose solutions in her PhD, which
was due for submission in July next year.
She had also examined New Zealand's involvement in the
formation of international space law New Zealand punched
above its weight when it came to helping create adequate
space law, she said.