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NASA wants your help to name their newest Mars rover

Thursday, January 23rd 2020, 6:15 pm - Vote for your favourite name until January 27

The days until NASA's new rover leaves for Mars are just flying by, but the robot explorer can't leave Earth without a new name!

The Mars2020 rover is going through its final paces before its launch to the Red Planet in July of this year. As they've done with every other mission they've sent out into universe, however, NASA needs to give this Mars explorer a new name before it sets off to its new home!

Mars2020-rover-test-drive-24732 PIA23499-16-NASA-JPLNASA's Mars2020 rover goes on a short test drive in the 'clean room' at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Out of over 150 different names picked as semi-finalists earlier this month, a team of NASA scientists and engineers have narrowed the choices down to just nine.

  • Endurance, submitted by Oliver Jacobs of Virginia,
  • Tenacity, submitted by Eamon Reilly of Pennsylvania,
  • Promise, submitted by Amira Shanshiry of Massachusetts,
  • Perseverance, submitted by Alexander Mather of Virginia,
  • Vision, submitted by Hadley Green of Mississippi,
  • Clarity, submitted by Nora Benitez of California,
  • Ingenuity, submitted by Vaneeza Rupani of Alabama,
  • Fortitude, submitted by Anthony Yoon of Oklahoma, and
  • Courage, submitted by Tori Gray of Louisiana

Now, it falls to us, the public. NASA wants to know what we think the rover should be named!

Submit your vote on the NASA website, and hurry, we only have until Monday, January 27 before the polls close!

According to NASA, once the poll closes a panel will review the results, and then discuss each of the names with the student who submitted it. The panel will consist of Lori Glaze, the director of NASA's Planetary Science Division in Washington, NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins, NASA-JPL rover driver Nick Wiltsie, and Clara Ma, who, as a sixth-grade student in 2009, earned the honor of naming the Mars Science Laboratory "Curiosity".

PIA21635-Mars2020Rover-ArtistConcept-20170523An artist conception drawing of Mars2020 exploring the Martian surface. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The results of the contest will be announced in early March, with the winner not only getting to name this new rover, but they will also be invited to attend the launch, which is currently scheduled for July 17, 2020.

When Mars2020 reaches its destination, in mid-February of 2021, it will be landing in Jezero Crater. There, it will explore the crater, paying particular attention to the layers of sediment in what appears to be a long-dry river delta. Its goal: to find signs of ancient life on Mars!

Jezero-Crater-RiverDelta-crop-NASA-JPL-JHUAPL-MSSS-BrownUniversityThis image shows a false-colour view of the river delta along the western rim of Jezero Crater. The colourful formations on the right side of the image are from a spectral analysis from orbit, revealing the presence of sediments that have been chemically altered by water, such as clays and carbonates. Credit: NASA/JPL/JHUAPL/MSSS/Brown University

"Thousands of students have shared their ideas for a name that will do our rover and the team proud," said Glaze. "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."

Sources: NASA | NASA Mars

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