Skip to main content

The Mars 2020 rover officially has a name: Perseverance

NASA announced Mars 2020 Rover’s new name, Perseverance, during a live event on Thursday, March 5. Perseverance was submitted by high school student Alexander Mather, who attends Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia. 

“We are always curious and seek opportunity, but if rovers are to be the qualities of us as a race, we have missed the most important thing, perseverance,” Mather wrote on his essay.

Besides the joy of having his suggestion selected, Mather will also be invited to watch the Perseverance launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in July 2020. Mather has hopes to be in the space sector one day and said that he hopes to get a degree in space engineering and work at NASA as an engineer. 

A rendering of Mars 2020 rover, to be launched on its journey to Mars next year.
A rendering of Mars 2020 rover, to be launched on its journey to Mars next year. NASA

NASA opened up a contest back in August for students to submit potential names of the Mars Rover. There were over 28,000 entries from all over the country, 158 semi-finalists, and nine finalists. The nine finalists included names like Tenacity, Promise, Vision, Ingenuity, and Endurance, but in the end, Perseverance made the cut. 

“Perseverance is a strong word about making progress despite obstacles,” said Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, the Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA. “The Perseverance rover will lead the way to the next generation of exploration.”

Perseverance will launch on July 17, 2020 on a round-trip mission to Mars with an expected landing date on Mars of February 2021. It will prepare Mars samples and pave the way for eventual human exploration of the Red Planet. The rover took over a decade to construct and has seven instruments, 23 cameras, a robotic arm, and state-of-the-art mobility systems. 

Perseverance will be the fifth rover to set foot on Mars. Past Mars rovers include Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity. Sojourner explored the planet for three months in 1997 and snapped photographs and took chemical measurements. Spirit was active from 2004 to 2010, and Opportunity was in commission from 2004 until mid-2018. Both of those rovers explored Mars searching for signs of past life and studied the history of climate and water sites on Mars. 

The Curiosity rover is still roaming Mars and is currently studying an area of the Gale Crater called Mount Sharp, a mountain rising 5.5 km (3.4 miles) above the floor of the crater.

Editors' Recommendations

Allison Matyus
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Allison Matyus is a general news reporter at Digital Trends. She covers any and all tech news, including issues around social…
What Perseverance rover recordings tell us about sound on Mars
The two microphones of the Perseverance Mars Rover are labeled.

The Perseverance rover captured the world's imagination when it recorded sounds from the surface of Mars shortly after its arrival on the red planet in 2021. It recorded sounds of the Martian wind, as well as the noises it made itself, and it even managed to capture the sounds of the Ingenuity helicopter in action. Now, scientists have analyzed these recordings to learn about how sound propagates on Mars, and found that the speed of sound isn't constant there -- it depends on the sound's pitch.

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Captures Puff, Whir, Zap Sounds from Mars

Read more
Perseverance rover heading for the Jezero delta at top speed
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover looks back at its wheel tracks on March 17, 2022, the 381th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

NASA's Perseverance rover is taking a road trip across Mars, heading for a new and exciting location. The aim is for the rover to travel faster than previous rovers, making use of its self-driving system. This should enable the rover to cover the three miles to the Jezero Crater delta, which is the site of an ancient river delta which is a great site to look for evidence of ancient life, at top speed.

Perseverance’s Route to the Delta

Read more
NASA has wonderful news for its plucky Mars helicopter
NASA's Ingenuity helicopter.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter made history in April 2021 when it became the first aircraft to achieve powered, controlled flight on another planet.

With Mars’ atmosphere much thinner than Earth’s, engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) weren’t certain if they could build a machine capable of obtaining lift on the red planet, let alone creating one able to fly reliably. But with its long, fast-spinning blades, Ingenuity has exceeded expectations, flying over long distances during multiple flights.

Read more