NASA Mars Rover 2020 Named Perseverance (Photo Credit: NASA)
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has finally announced the name of the agency’s next Mars rover (Mars 2020) as ‘Perseverance’. It is to be noted that the name of Mars rover was announced on Thursday by Science Mission Directorate associate administrator Thomas Zurbuchen at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia. The name ‘Perseverance’ was suggested by seventh-grader Alexander Mather, who submitted the winning entry to the agency’s "Name the Rover" essay contest, which received more than 28,000 entries from K-12 students from every US state and territory.
"Alex’s entry captured the spirit of exploration. Like every exploration mission before, our rover is going to face challenges, and it’s going to make amazing discoveries. It’s already surmounted many obstacles to get us to the point where we are today – processing for launch,” Zurbuchen was quoted as saying by NASA website.
Zurbuchen further stated that Alex and his classmates are the Artemis Generation and they will soon take the next steps that will lead us to Mars. "We can’t wait to see Perseverance on Mars," he added.
It is worth mentioning here that in January 2020, NASA had shortlisted nine finalists in the student naming contest for its next Mars rover. Students across the US, ranging from kindergarten to high school, submitted more than 28,000 potential names for Mars 2020 rover. At least 4,700 judges picked only 9 names that had gone for the online poll.
Importantly, the Mars 2020 naming contest was a part of the Space Act Agreement in educational and public outreach efforts between NASA, Battelle of Columbus, Ohio, and Future Engineers.
Mars 2020 alias Perseverance will be launched towards the red planet in July 2020. The rover will land in a crater called Jezero, about seven months (February 2021) after departing Earth. Jezero is an area on Mars where liquid water flowed once. Perseverance will use a suite of high-tech tools to scout for signs of ancient alien microbes. The robot will have a laser blaster to analyse interesting rocks from afar.
Perseverance weighs 2,314-pound (1,050-kilogram). The rover currently is at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Kennedy is responsible for launch management. The rover is part of a larger exploration program that includes missions to the Moon to prepare for human missions to the Red Planet. Charged with returning astronauts to the Moon by 2024, NASA will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028 through NASA's Artemis program.