At the last meeting of the IAF – International Astronautical Federation – in Washington, DC this past October, BCSS student Elise Knutsen won an award for the presentation of her Master’s thesis. Elise’s advisor at NTNU has been Prof. Patrick Espy, who is also a member of the Birkeland Centre. The award was given to the 5 best of the more than 600 interactive presentations (IP) at the conference. The presentations were judged by their relevance to the field (Elise’s was Applications and Operations: Earth Observation Symposium), significance of new findings, and the quality/”interactiveness” of the presentation.
The IP session is a modern version of the poster presentation format, with an area set up with many (ca 50) large touch screens. Each presenter is allocated a screen number and a time slot of 10 minutes. At any given time, 50 presentations will be going on, and the audience is free to move between screens to find projects of interest.
IAF organizes an annual congress (IAC). It is the largest space conference in the world and is hosted by a different country every year. The recent congress in Washington, DC was timed to coincide with the 50 year anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.
Elise is currently working as a research scientist at NASA/Goddard on a one year contract. She is part of the science team for the NOMAD instrument on the satellite ExoMars Trace Gas orbiter. Her project involves improving retrieval methods for a selection of trace gases, like methane and ethane. The goal is to set new, stringent upper limits for the detection of these gases.