Seventh Grader Names NASA Mars Rover; Liftoff Scheduled For July

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NASA has finally named the Mars 2020 rover as Perseverance. The rover will be sent to the Red Planet on a mission to find evidence that life existed on the planet. NASA notes that the sample-catching robotic rover will be launched later this year. The NASA officials believe that the name suits the robot quite nicely.

NASA Rover Naming Contest
 

NASA Rover Naming Contest

The winner of the NASA naming contest is Mather, a seventh-grader from Burke, Virginia. As part of the winning proposition, Mather will get a free trip to Cape Canaveral, Florida to watch the Perseverance rover lunch in July.

"There has never been exploration - never, never been making history - without perseverance," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate during the name-unveiling session. The word ‘perseverance' is a strong word and the agency hopes to make progress with the new rover.

All of NASA's previous Mars rovers were named via a nationwide student competition. The competition to name the Mars 2020 rover was kickstarted in 2019 and gathered nearly 28,000 essay submissions from K-12 students, NASA officials said. Out of this, the official brought it down to 155 semifinalists, which was further cut shorted to nine finalists.

The nine finalists included names like Endurance, Tenacity, Clarity, Vision, and so on. Although the public did vote for their favorite name, the final call was taken by Zurbuchen and the name Perseverance was selected.

Perseverance Rover’s Mission
 

Perseverance Rover’s Mission

The current schedule will have the Perseverance rover land on Mars in February 2021 with the prime agenda to search for signs of ancient life. The rover is designed to land inside Mars' Jezero Crater, which is the ideal location to search for life. The crater, which was once a lake and a river delta, has a high chance of bearing life billions of years ago.

It also has a ground-penetrating radar instrument to look for deposits of subsurface water ice for a future manned mission to Mars. It will also carry a small flying helicopter, 23 cameras, two microphones, and more.

Perseverance is equipped with a powerful seven-instrument suite to search for life. It is also geared with equipment to collect a cache several dozen samples of pristine, material from Mars for further studies, where scientists can continue digging up evidence of life. If all goes according to plan, the samples could reach Earth as early as 2031.

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