The American space agency, NASA has a new name for the rover that it will be sending to Mars this summer – it is called Perseverance.
Until now, the project was known by its code name, Mars 2020. However, NASA conducted a nationwide naming competition, asking for children across the United States to suggest a name for the rover, accompanied by a 150-word essay on why the name was most suitable.
It received a whopping 28,000 entries, which were shortlisted to a total of 155. Subsequently, the public was asked to vote for the name they thought best suited.
The name ‘Perseverance’ was suggested by a 13-year-old seventh grader from Virginia, Alexander Mather. Interestingly, he will be invited to watch the launch of the spacecraft from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The name was announced by Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate’s associate administrator on 5th Match 2020.
In his essay, Mather wrote, “Curiosity. InSight. Spirit. Opportunity. If you think about it, all of these names of past Mars rovers are qualities we possess as humans. We are always curious, and seek opportunity. We have the spirit and insight to explore the Moon, Mars, and beyond.”
“But, if rovers are to be the qualities of us as a race, we missed the most important thing. Perseverance. We as humans evolved as creatures who could learn to adapt to any situation, no matter how harsh. We are a species of explorers, and we will meet many setbacks on the way to Mars. However, we can persevere. We, not as a nation but as humans, will not give up. Even faced with bitter losses such as Opportunity and Vikram 2, the human race will always persevere into the future.”
Here are the runners-up to the naming competition:
Endurance (Kindergarten to 4th grade, by Oliver Jacobs of Virginia)
Tenacity (Kindergarten to 4th grade, by Eamon Reilly of Pennsylvania)
Promise,(Kindergarten to 4th grade, by Amira Shanshiry of Massachusetts)
Vision (5th to 8th grade, by Hadley Green of Mississippi)
Clarity (5th to 8th grade, by Nora Benitez of California)
Ingenuity (9th to 12th grade, by Vaneeza Rupani of Alabama)
Fortitude (9th to 12th grade, by Anthony Yoon of Oklahoma)
Courage (9th to 12th grade, by Tori Gray of Louisiana)
The rover will be launched this July and will reach Mars in February 2021.
Remarkably, students have helped name Mars rovers since 1997 – the names Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity have all been given by students.
Wow! Aren’t these students the future of tomorrow? So wonderful to see such amazing names from these little scientists. What do you think? Do let us know your views in the comments section below.1