NASA needs a name for the rover that it’s sending to Mars this summer and a little while back it asked U.S. students to help.
After receiving tens of thousands of entries in a nationwide contest, the space agency has whittled down the suggestions to the final nine. And you can vote for your favorite.
The nine finalists (shown with submission name, grade level, student 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
“Thousands of students have shared their ideas for a name that will do our rover and the team proud,” Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, said in a release. “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.”
How to vote
You can choose your favorite entry by visiting this page and making your selection. No sign-up required. The poll closes at 9 p.m. on January 27, so don’t hang around.
NASA says the results of the poll will be “a consideration” in its final naming selection, and therefore not decisive.
“After the poll closes, the nine student finalists will discuss their rover names with a panel including Glaze, NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins, NASA-Jet Propulsion Lab 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 space agency said.
The Mars 2020 rover tips the scales at 2,300-pound (1,040-kilograms) and is described by NASA as a “robotic scientist.” The high-tech vehicle will search the Martian surface for signs of past microbial life, while at the same time gathering samples and carrying out research to aid potential human exploration of the planet at a later date.
The contest will announce the name of the Mars 2020 rover, as well as the student who came up with it, in early March.
Besides the honor of having their suggested moniker attached to the rover, the winner will also receive an invitation to witness the mission’s launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in July.
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