NASA Picks 9 Potential Names For Mars Rover 2020 (Photo Credit: mars.nasa.gov)
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has shortlisted nine finalists in the student naming contest for its next Mars rover, which is currently called ‘Mars 2020’. It is to be noted that students across the US, ranging from kindergarten to high school, submitted more than 28,000 potential names for NASA's Mars 2020 rover. However, a panel of 4,700 volunteer judges picked only 9 names that have gone for the online poll.
The online poll will be opened until January 27, 2020. The maximum votes will decide the name of a rover that will roam across Mars. You can vote for your favorite name for Mars rover 2020 at go.nasa.gov/name2020. According to NASA, the space agency picked three submissions in each of the three age categories — grades K-4, 5-8 and 9-12.
What best describes a Mars rover? Tenacity? Fortitude? Courage? We’ve selected nine potential names for the #Mars2020 rover. You can vote for your favorite; results will be considered in selecting the rover’s name. https://t.co/PuiJ47SDeb pic.twitter.com/3oxEqWKa9N— NASA (@NASA) January 21, 2020
In a statement, NASA said, "After the poll closes, the nine student finalists will discuss their rover names with a panel including [NASA Planetary Science Division director Lori] Glaze, NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins, NASA-JPL rover driver Nick Wiltsie and Clara Ma, who earned the honor of naming the Mars rover Curiosity as a sixth-grade student in 2009."
"The contest will conclude in early March, when the rover's new name — and the student behind it — are announced. The grand prize winner will also receive an invitation to see the spacecraft launch in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida," the US space agency added.
Mars 2020 is scheduled to launch towards the red planet in July next year. The rover is expected to land in an expansive impact crater called Jezero, where liquid water once flowed, about seven months (February 2021) after departing Earth. Mars 2020 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. The rover weighs 2,314-pound (1,050-kilogram).