Until 9 p.m. Pacific Standard time tonight you can play a part in naming NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover. Last year, more than 28,000 essays were submitted in the naming contest by students. After a diverse panel of nearly 4,700 volunteer judges reviewed the essays, the finalists have been chosen and voting is open to the public.
“Name the Rover” Essay Contest
In 2019 NASA initiated a contest for K-12 students across the United States. Students submitted a short essay, along with their proposed name for the Mars 2020 Rover.
Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division stated, “Thousands of students have shared their ideas for a name that will do our rover and the team proud…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.”
The judges, which consisted of educators, professionals and space enthusiasts from all around the country, narrowed the more than 28,000 essays to 155 semifinalists from every state and territory in the U.S.
Out of those 155, nine finalists have been chosen and now it’s time for the public to vote on their favorite name.
Name the Rover Finalists
Finalists included three contestants from grades K-4, three from 5-8, and three from grades 9-12. The nine finalists, including their submission name, grade level, name, and state are:
- 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
How to Vote
You can submit your vote on the NASA’s Mars 2020 Mission contest page. The nine finalists will have the opportunity to discuss their rover names with a panel comprised of Glaze, NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins, NASA-JPL rover driver Nick Wiltsie, and Clara Ma who was the sixth-grade student that named the Mars rover ‘Curiosity’ in 2009.
The rover’s new name, along with the winner behind the name, will be announced in early March. The winner of the contest will receive an invitation to see the spacecraft launch scheduled for July 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Once the rover lands on Mars it will search for signs of past microbial life and collect data – paving the way for human exploration on the Red Planet.