Leif Erikson Awards

The Leif Erikson Awards are awarded annually by the Exploration Museum to explorers for achievements in human exploration and to individuals and organizations for documenting exploration history. The first awards were held in 2015.


Harrison Schmitt (USA) – Leif Erikson Award
Apollo 17 astronaut and last person to step onto the Moon. Born in 1935.
Awarded for his scientific work on the surface of the Moon in 1972 and for his part in the geology training of the astronauts that walked on the Moon before him.

Jessica Watson (Australia) – Young Explorer Award
Young sailor and public speaker. Born in 1993.
Awarded for completing a non-stop and unassisted southern hemisphere solo circumnavigation of the world at the age of 16.

Dr. Huw Lewis-Jones (UK) – Exploration History Award
Exploration historian and author. Curator of Art at the Scott Polar Research Institute. Born in 1980.
Awarded for his writings on visual culture, seafaring, polar exploration, mountaineering, and remote environments.


Scott Parazynski (USA) – Leif Erikson Award
NASA astronaut, mountaineer, polar explorer and diver. Born in 1961.
Awarded for his lifetime of exploration, as a veteran of five Space Shuttle flights and seven spacewalks, and as the only astronaut to have summited Mt. Everest.

Tashi and Nungshi Malik (India) – Young Explorer Award
Young mountaineers and women’s rights advocates. Born in 1991.
Awarded as the youngest persons, at the date, to have completed the Last Degree Explorers Grand Slam, at the age of 23. First siblings and twins to climb the Seven Summits and reach both Poles.

The crew and builders of Draken Harald Hårfagre (Norway) – Exploration History Award
A large Viking longship built in the municipality of Haugesund, Norway, between 2010 and 2012.
Awarded for their expedition to retrace the first trans-Atlantic crossing and the Viking discovery of the New World.


Edurne Pasaban (Spain) – Leif Erikson Award
Mountaineer and public speaker. Born in 1973.
Awarded for becoming the first woman to climb all of the fourteen eight-thousander peaks in the World between 2001 and 2010.

Alex Bellini (Italy) – Young Explorer Award
Sailor and adventurer. Born in 1978.
Awarded for crossing both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on a rowing boat, solo, within the age of 30. It took him 227 days to cover 11.000 km through the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and he spent 294 days traversing the 18.000 km through the Pacific.

Dr. Haraldur Sigurðsson (Iceland) – Exploration History Award
Emeritus Professor of Oceanography at University of Rhode Island. Born in 1939.
Awarded for his scientific commitment and writings on volcanology. He has carried out research on
the Santorini volcano since 1975. His volcanic research also includes work on the famous eruption of Vesuvius in
Italy in 79 AD, which buried Pompeii and Herculaneum.


Nominations are open