NASA Wants Your Help Naming Its Mars 2020 Rover

James Marshall
January 22, 2020

The contest, which opened in August, allowed students to submit their name ideas, along with an essay explaining their choice, to NASA.

The rover will join a growing family of NASA missions now operating on and around Mars, including the Curiosity rover, the InSight stationary lander and the Mars orbiters. You can vote for your favourite here. Selected from 28,000 essays submitted by United States elementary and high school students, the nine names will now go to a public poll before the victor is selected. Over 28,000 essays were received, which were judged by a panel of 4,700 volunteers, consisting of educators, professionals, and space enthusiasts. It took weeks for the judges to narrow down the field, first to 155 semifinalists, and then to the nine finalists - three for grades K-4, three for grades 5-8, and three for grades 9-12.

"Thousands of students have shared their ideas for a name that will do our rover and the team proud", said Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division in Washington. "Now it is the public's opportunity to become involved and express their excitement for their favorites of the final nine".

NASA has opened a public poll where anyone can vote on their favorite name through January 27.

Sadly, the public doesn't get the final say on naming this new Mars rover.

"The contest will conclude in early March, when the rover's new name - and the student behind it - are announced", NASA officials added.

The now unnamed rover is a robotic scientist weighing more than 2,300 pounds (1,000 kilograms).

JPL built and will manage operations of the Mars 2020 rover for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

The car-size Mars 2020 is scheduled to touch down inside the 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero Crater in February 2021.

Equipped with over 20 cameras, a powerful drill, and even a small helicopter, the mission will help lay the groundwork for the possibility of human life on Mars in the future. NASA's Launch Services Program, based at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch management.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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