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Aleksander Knutsen


My name is Aleksander Knutsen, and I was born in 1996 in Norway. I currently live in Trondheim where I study for a Master’s degree in computer science.

In my high school years, I received multiple awards in mathematics, including two diplomas from the Norwegian Mathematical Olympiad and a first place in a math competition hosted by my school. In early 2015, I became part of a team sending weather balloons to near space. This became the basis of my Odysseus project “High-Altitude Balloons on Mars”, and has in turn earned us exclusive invitations and presentations from climate scientists and celebrities alike.

In 2015, I was selected to be a participant in the European Space Camp, a weeklong stay at a rocket range and research facility where we learned about the process of creating and launching a sounding rocket.

In 2016, my team and I released a high-altitude balloon to near-space. I was also the leader for the youth group in the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue.

In 2017 I was one of the finalists in the international Odysseus II contest. There I received second place and a special recognition for scientific rigor. Later that year I was nominated for the Young Excellent Researchers Award from the Research Council of Norway.

What motivated you most to participate in Odysseus contest?

My mentor Per Verås has been one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to challenging myself in the field of science. My team and I had been launching a high-altitude balloon beforehand, and my mentor persuaded me to join the competition. He had been participating with another team in Odysseus I the past, with great success.

What did you enjoy when you prepared your project?

The most enjoyable part of the process was towards the end, watching all the research material come together to create one big project. Some of my friends also proofread the report, and receiving their input and critique was invaluable.

What was the most important thing that you learned during the preparation of your project?

I learned a lot about atmospheric physics beyond my prior knowledge of the subject. I also learned about the process of conducting a research project. In addition, this project taught me much about my own abilities to conduct research and doing scientific work.

Has the work done for your project affected your decision for studies in space science?

I am already enrolled in a master’s degree in computer science, although I have been seriously considering applying for an ESA internship, and I am keeping the door open for a future career within the computer branch of space science.