NASA Invites Students to Name Next Mars Rover

NASA Invites Students to Name Next Mars Rover
The Mars 2020 Rover is preparing to launch to the Red Planet in July 2020, but it doesn’t have a name yet. NASA is asking K-12 students across the United States to send in essays with their best name ideas by Nov. 1.  Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL –  Student Alert !! NASA needs you to help name the next American rover launching to the Red Planet – Mars!!
NASA has announced a naming contest for its next Martian robot to drive across the surface of the Red Planet – starting now.
NASA is inviting K-12 students all across the US to help find a great name forits next Mars rover mission launching in 2020
But you have to start thinking about a great name now !! – because the deadline to enter the contest and submit your name is Nov. 1, 2019.
Details about how the rules and how to enter NASA’s naming contest for the Mars 2020 rover are here:
Watch this fun and short video for more information amd cool pictures of the rover as NASA finishes building it: 

Video Caption: The Mars 2020 Rover is preparing to launch to the Red Planet in July 2020, but it doesn’t have a name yet. NASA is asking K-12 students across the United States to send in essays with their best name ideas by Nov. 1.  Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Here are the complete contest details from NASA:

Click here for more information about the Mars 2020 rover naming contest

“Starting Tuesday, K-12 students in U.S. public, private and home schools can enter the Mars 2020 Name the Rover essay contest. One grand prize winner will name the rover and be invited to see the spacecraft launch in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.


The Name the Rover contest is part of NASA’s efforts to engage students in the STEM enterprise behind Mars exploration and inspire interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


“This naming contest is a wonderful opportunity for our nation’s youth to get involved with NASA’s Moon to Mars missions,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “It is an exciting way to engage with a rover that will likely serve as the first leg of a Mars Sample return campaign, collecting and caching core samples from the Martian surface for scientists here on Earth to study for the first time.”


The Mars 2020 rover is a 2,300-pound robotic scientist that will search for signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet’s climate and geology, collect samples for future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.


“Our Mars 2020 rover has fully taken shape over the past several months, as the project team installed various components onto the chassis: the computer brain and electronics; wheels and mobility system; robotic arm; remote sensing mast; the seven science instruments; and finally, the sample caching system,” said George Tahu, Mars 2020 program executive. “All that’s missing is a great name!”


To enter the contest, students must submit by Nov. 1 their proposed rover name and a short essay, no more than 150 words, explaining why their proposed name should be chosen. The essays will be divided into three groups, by grade level – K-4, 5-8, and 9-12 – and judged on the appropriateness, significance and originality of their proposed name, and the originality and quality of their essay, and/or finalist interview presentation.


Fifty-two semifinalists will be selected per group, each representing their respective state or U.S. territory. Three finalists then will be selected from each group to advance to the final round.


As part of the final selection process, the public will have an opportunity to vote online on the nine finalists in January 2020. NASA plans to announce the selected name on Feb. 18, 2020 – exactly one year before the rover will land on the surface of Mars.


For complete contest and prize details, visit:
The naming contest partnership is part of a Space Act Agreement between NASA, Battelle of Columbus, Ohio, and Future Engineers of Burbank, California, in educational and public outreach efforts.
Rover Update
With all major elements onboard and initial functional checks complete, Mars 2020’s Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations team is preparing the rover and its sky crane descent stage for the next big test: simulating the vibration dynamics of launch and the thermal environment the rover will experience on the surface of Mars.

Video Caption: See NASA’s next Mars rover quite literally coming together inside a clean room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This behind-the-scenes look at what goes into building and preparing a rover for Mars, including extensive tests in simulated space environments, was captured from March to July 2019. The rover is expected to launch to the Red Planet in summer 2020 and touch down in February 2021.  Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Furthermore – don’t forget that NASA is inviting the public to send their name along for the journey that begins with blastoff of the ‘2020 Rover’ in July 2020. 

From now until Sept. 30, you can send your name to Mars by adding it to a chip to be loaded on board for the journey.

You can sign up and obtain a souvenir boarding pass to Mars here:

Over 7.0 million people have already signed up to place their names on the chips as of today, June 12.
I was fortunate to visit with Curiosity in the KSC clean room back in 2011, 3 weeks before liftoff.  A memory I’ll always cherish !
 
The 1 ton rover (2,300 pounds, 1,000 kilograms) is nearly a copy of the NASA’s Curiosity Mars Science Lab rover still operating on Mars – but with a completely new suite of science instruments and cameras as well as the 1st Mars Helicopter.

The Mars 2020 rover will launch on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket fromSpace Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The launch window opens in July 2020  

It is being targeted to touch down at Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021.

Mars 2020 will search for signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet’s climate and geology, collect samples for future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet. 


Ken’s upcoming outreach events:
Sep 21, 1 PM: American Space Museum, 308 Pine Street, Titusville, Florida. 
“Exploring Mars and the Search for life – 3D” – Learn all about NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover illustrated with Ken’s custom created Mars rover panoramas from Curiosity, Spirit and Opportunity and up close clean room and launch pad views. Free and open to public.  Ken’s Space/Rocket/Mars imagery for sale to support his outreach.
Oct 15: AIAA, Columbia, SC. Details upcoming
“Exploring Mars and the Search for life – 3D” – Learn all about NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover illustrated with Ken’s custom created Mars rover panoramas from Curiosity, Spirit and Opportunity and up close clean room and launch pad views.
Ken Kremer

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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