Space: What should Nasa's next Mars rover be called?

Mars 2020 rover could pave way to manned mission

NASA asked kids to name its new Mars rover, and the 9 finalists include Ingenuity and Fortitude. Now it's time to vote.

In its "Name the Rover" essay contest, NASA invited students in kindergarten through 12th grade to propose names for the robot.

The nine students whose proposals made the list of finalists will talk about their name ideas with a panel that includes Glaze, NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins, rover driver Nick Wiltsie, and Clara Ma, who named the Curiosity rover in a similar contest when she was in sixth grade in 2009.

Launching this summer, the Mars 2020 rover will traverse the Red Planet looking for evidence of past life there and learning more about the environment of our neighboring planet. Whatever name NASA chooses will help set the tone for the broader Mars project moving forward, however subtly. "Now it is the public's opportunity to become involved and express their excitement for their favorites of the final nine". By voting here, everyone can have a say in what the Mars 2020 rover will officially be called.

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NASA has chosen nine finalists in the student naming contest for its next Mars rover, which now goes by the bland Mars 2020 (a reference to its launch window, which extends from July through August of this year).

Perseverance, 5-8, Alexander Mather of Virginia.

Clarity, 5-8, Nora Benitez of California. In the 9-12 category, you can pick between Ingenuity (from Alabama's Vaneeza Rupani), Fortitude (from Oklahoma's Anthony Yoon) and Courage (from Louisiana's Tori Gray).

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Tenacity, K-4, Eamon Reilly of Pennsylvania.

The poll is located at Go.nasa.gov/name2020 and is open until 9:00 pm PST on January 27. Thousands of volunteer judges helped narrow the pool down to 155 semifinalists.

The contest will conclude in early March, when the rover's new name - and the student behind it - are announced. The grand prize includes an invitation to watch the Mars 2020 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida.

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Equipped with over 20 cameras, a powerful drill, and even a small helicopter, the mission will help lay the groundwork for the possibility of human life on Mars in the future. The mission is timed for a launch in July/August this year.

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