NASA's Next Mars Rover Might Get One of These Nine Names

Pablo Tucker
January 23, 2020

Interested people can cast their votes in favor of any one name out of the nine proposed names though an online voting process.

NASA has picked three submissions in each of the three age categories - grades K-4, 5-8 and 9-12.

The Mars 2020 rover is viewed at some level of a drive take a look at in December at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Though it's been years in planning and building and is scheduled to launch in July or August 2020, NASA's Mars 2020 rover is still lumbered with a working name rather than the one it will bear when it lands in Jezero Crater on the Red Planet, slated for February 18, 2021. The nine student finalists are invited to discuss the names that they proposed in a panel including Lori Glaze (NASA Planetary Science Division director), Jessica Watkins (NASA astronaut), Nick Wiltsie (NASA-JPL rover driver), and Clara Ma (the victor of the 2009 competition that named the Curiosity rover; she was sixth-grade student at the time).

There is an online poll, which is open until next Monday, where you can vote for your favorite.

"Thousands of students have shared their ideas for a name that will do our rover and the team proud", says Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division. But you'll have to act relatively fast; voting closes at midnight EST (0500 GMT) on January 28.

Clarity, 5-8, Nora Benitez of California.

Tenacity, K-4, Eamon Reilly of Pennsylvania.

NASA is looking for a little help naming their next Mars rover.

Fortitude, 9-12, Anthony Yoon of Oklahoma.

The Mars 2020 official name will be announced after the contest concludes in early March. A panel of 4,700 volunteer judges shortlisted the proposals to 155 semifinalists, which was eventually cut down to 9 proposals. Now we're in the home stretch and the student who wins the contest will receive an invitation to see the new rover launched into space from Cape Canaveral in July of 2020. If 2020 samples these sites, the intriguing soil will be stored in metal tubes, and the data it collects may be able to help scientists know if they've found a biosignature on Mars.

The new rover will also work on a mission to test several instruments that will use ground-penetrating radar for the first time, study weather science and convert carbon dioxide to oxygen.

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