NASA has selected the nine finalists’ names from three age categories for the upcoming Mars 2020 Rover. The rover is scheduled to launch in July and set to land in the Jezero Crater on Mars on the expected date of February 18, 2021. The rover will also be carrying a Mars Helicopter to act as a scout, making it the first man-made flying object outside of Earth.
Here are the final nine names that the public will vote and select from for the almost complete rover. Students had submitted over 28,000 submissions for the open “Name the Rover” contest all across the U.S. From that, 155 semifinalists were selected by a panel of educators, professionals, and enthusiasts.
Rover name finalists
- 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
You can cast your vote here for your favorite name for what you think the rover should be called.
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NASA is also sending your name to Mars
NASA also had an open submission for anyone to send their name to be on the Mars rover. For those that signed up before the deadline (September 30, 2018), NASA already added your name to a silicon chip (cover by a glass plate) which will be attached to the body of the Mars 2020 rover. The names are embedded in lines that are “smaller than one-thousandth the width of a human hair.”
The Mars 2020 Rover
The goal of the mission is to collect samples and search for signs of life. The rover is also meant to collect further data about the red planet as NASA prepares its astronauts to be sent to Mars.
The Mars 2020 will also be carrying the first helicopter to fly on the red planet. If it is successful, the helicopter will be the first flying object to take flight outside of our planet. The advantages of testing flight on Mars is to possibly have other flying objects to scout and assist humans and rovers in navigation in the future.
The Mars Helicopter
The Mars Scout Helicopter will be the first manmade flying object outside Earth. The goal of the Mars Scout Helicopter is to test flight-capable systems on Mars and test a model of “scouting” for the rover, and possibly humans in the future.
The helicopter will be stored and transported upon the Mars 2020 Rover, which will then be released once the rover lands in the Jezero Crater. Scientists believe that water once flowed in this crater, hence the decision to send the rover to this location. Engineers at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory had to flip the Mars 2020 Rover on its back, and had the helicopter and its deployment system underneath the rover. The rover will drop the helicopter during the descent stage of its own landing.
The solar-powered helicopter will assist the rover in navigation, and scouting our locations for further exploration. The rover will hopefully be able to capture images of mountains from a higher height, giving us an entirely new view on the red planet. Even if the helicopter fails to take flight, NASA says that the aircraft will still be able to collect valuable data. The helicopter won’t contain any valuable instruments, as NASA does not want to test out the first non-earth aircraft with sensitive instrumentation.
The $23M funded helicopter will launch onboard the Mars 2020 Rover, but won’t reach the Martian surface until February 18, 2021.
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