Nine Finalists Selected for NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover Naming Contest

Nine Finalists Selected for NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover Naming Contest
This illustration depicts NASA’s next Mars rover, which launches in July 2020. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – After conducting a nationwide contest where kindergarten through 12th grade students across the United States submitted essays to “Name the Rover” NASA has selected 9 candidate names as finalists “to come up with a fitting name for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover.”

The nine candidate names were selected from over 28,000 essays submitted after the contest began on Aug. 28 last year.

The winning name for NASA’s 2020 rover — and the student behind it — will be announced in early March.

“A diverse panel of nearly 4,700 judge volunteers, composed of educators, professionals and space enthusiasts from all around the country, narrowed the pool down to 155 deserving semifinalists from every state and territory in the country,” said NASA.

“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, in a statement.

“Thousands more volunteered time to be part of the judging process. Now it is the public’s opportunity to become involved and express their excitement for their favorites of the final nine.”

Here are the nine finalist Mars 2020 rover names -along with the student names who submitted the essay, grade level and state:

Endurance, K-4, Oliver Jacobs of Virginia
Tenacity, K-4, Eamon Reilly of Pennsylvania
• Promise, K-4, Amira Shanshiry of Massachusetts

Perseverance, 5-8, Alexander Mather of Virginia
Vision, 5-8, Hadley Green of Mississippi
Clarity, 5-8, Nora Benitez of California

Ingenuity, 9-12, Vaneeza Rupani of Alabama
Fortitude, 9-12, Anthony Yoon of Oklahoma
Courage, 9-12, Tori Gray of Louisiana

The public had a chance to give input by voting now closed.

I have my own favorite! What’s your favorite Mars 2020 rover name?

The final selected will be made by a team comprised of 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 grand prize winner will also receive an invitation to see the spacecraft launch in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, says NASA.

Its all getting quite real because NASA’s Mars 2020 rover recently arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Florida launch base for final processing ahead of blastoff slated for July – after departing the only home she has ever known and where she was lovingly created by engineers working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

In a clean room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, engineers observed the first driving test for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover on Dec. 17, 2019. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Scheduled to launch as early as July 2020, the Mars 2020 mission will search for signs of past microbial life, characterize Mars’ climate and geology, collect samples for future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.

The car-sized Mars 2020 rover is targeted for liftoff on 17 July 2020 aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 541 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

She is scheduled to touch down in an area of Mars known as Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021.

The 1 ton rover 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.

Meanwhile Curiosity continues to explore the Red Planet at Mount Sharp since the dramatic touchdown in 2012.

Curiosity rover investigates a huge variety of past environments preserved within Gale Crater along Vera Rubin Ridge while celebrating 2000 Sols of exploration on the Red Planet. Rover deck is backdropped by Mount Sharp in this navcam camera mosaic stitched from raw images taken on Sol 2003, Mar. 26, 2018 and colorized. Credit: NASA/JPL/Marco Di Lorenzo Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

 

ESA also plans to launch their ExoMars 2020 rover this summer.

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Mars 2020 and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent ULA and SpaceX launches including Solar Orbiter, In-Flight Abort and Starlink at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

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.
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Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events

Ken has created hundreds of widely published Mars rover mosaics and lectures also about NASA’s Mars rovers

Ken’s upcoming outreach events:

Feb 29/Mar 1 : 7 PM, Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center, Titusville, FL. “SpaceX CRS-20, IFA and Starlink launch, ULA Solar Orbiter launch.” Free. In hotel lobby. Photos for sale

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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