Perseverance – 7th Grader Chosen to Name NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover

Alex Mather, the student whose submission, Perseverance, was chosen as the official name of the Mars 2020 rover, reads his essay entry, Thursday, March 5, 2020, at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Va. Perseverance is currently at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida being prepared for launch this summer. Photo Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – Perseverance – that’s the outstanding winning name NASA has chosen to name the Mars 2020 rover based on an outstanding essay submitted by 7th grader Alex Mather of Virginia for NASA’s nationwide contest where kindergarten through 12th grade students across the United States submitted essays to “Name the Rover.”

The winning Mars 2020 rover name was announced March 5 by Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate, during a celebration at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia, broadcast live on NASA TV.

The winning name ‘Perseverance’ was chosen by Thomas Zurbuchen from the final nine candidate names selected from over 28,000 essays submitted after the contest began on Aug. 28 last year.

Listen to Alex Mather read a portion of his winning essay:

“We’re always curious and seek opportunity…but if rovers are to be the qualities as us as a race, we missed the most important thing: Perseverance.”

Zurbuchen was at the school to congratulate 13 year old Alexander Mather, who submitted the winning entry to the agency’s “Name the Rover” essay contest, which received 28,000 entries from K-12 students from every U.S. state and territory.

“Alex’s entry captured the spirit of exploration,” said Zurbuchen during the live NASA TV broadcast announcement.

“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. Alex and his classmates are the Artemis Generation, and they’re going to be taking the next steps into space that lead to Mars. That inspiring work will always require perseverance. We can’t wait to see that nameplate on Mars.”

Alex read his entire winning essay on stage:

“Curiosity, Insight, Spirit, Opportunity,” Alex read. “If you think about it, all of these names of past Mars rovers are qualities we possess as humans. We’re always curious and seek opportunity. We have the spirit and insight to explore the moon, Mars and beyond.”

“But if rovers are to be the qualities of us as a race, we miss the most important thing: Perseverance. We as humans evolved as creatures who could learn to adapt to any situation, no matter how harsh. We are a species of explorers, and we will meet many setbacks on the way to Mars. However, we can persevere. We, not as a nation, but as humans will not give up. The human race will always persevere into the future.”

Perseverance is currently at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida being prepared for launch this summer.

Students chant, “Go Perseverance!” during an event to announce the official name of the Mars 2020 rover, Thursday, March 5, 2020, at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Va. The final selection of the new name, Perseverance, was made by Associate Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Thomas Zurbuchen, following a nationwide naming contest conducted in 2019 that drew more than 28,000 essays by K-12 students from every U.S. state and territory. The rover is currently at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida being prepared for launch this summer. Photo Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Watch this NASA video for further details about the Perseverance rover and Alex reading his essay.

Video Caption: NASA’s next Mars rover has a new name. Alexander Mather, a 13-year-old student from Virginia submitted the winning name and explains why he chose the name of NASA’s next robotic scientist to visit the Red Planet. Credits: NASA

NASA has traditionally engaged young students to name its rovers since Sojourner in 1997.

“Perseverance is the latest in a long line of Red Planet rovers to be named by school-age children, from Sojourner in 1997 to the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, which landed on Mars in 2004, to Curiosity, which has been exploring Mars since 2012. In each case, the name was selected following a nationwide contest.”

During the NASA TV broadcast the agency also show the JPL assembly team attaching the ‘Perseverance’ nameplate to the rovers robotic sampling arm.

Members of JPL’s assembly, test and launch operations team for NASA’s Perseverance mission show appreciation for their newly named rover. The image was taken on March 4, 2020, at a payload processing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The plate is actually a rock and debris shield, designed to protect a cable that carries power and data from computers in the rover’s body to actuators in the arm, as well as to the rotary percussive drill and instruments in the turret. Weighing in at about 104 grams (3.7 ounces), the 17-inch-long by 3.25-inch-wide (43-centimeter-long by 8.26-centimeter-wide) plate was cut using a water jet. The surface was coated with black thermal paint before a computer-guided laser generated the name “Perseverance” by ablating paint off the surface. The nameplate was attached to the rover on March 4, 2020. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

Notably the name ‘Perseverance’ is the location where the Opportunity rover died in a dust storm in 2018
During a post announcement media telecon on March 5 I asked Alex if that played a role in his selection.

“Yes,” Alex replied.

You can see that Perseverance location in my Opportunity panoramic mosaic featured on Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) on Feb. 15, 2019.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190215.html

 

Its all getting quite real because NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance 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.

Scheduled to launch as early as July 2020, the Perseverance 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 Perseverance 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.

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

Mars Perseverance Nameplate: This image of the nameplate secured to the arm of NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover was taken at a payload servicing facility at Kennedy Space Center soon after being attached on March 4, 2020. The laser-etched plate serves as a rock and debris shield that will protect a flexible electrical cable. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

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:

Mar 12/13 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

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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