Judges working for NASA have narrowed the list of possible names for the space agency’s new Mars rover to 155 student entries—different names that include everything from Dusty and Dreamer to Tenacity and Little Tinker. Whichever student wins the grand prize will get an invitation to see the new Mars rover launch into space at Cape Canaveral in July of 2020.
“This rover is the first leg of a round-trip mission to Mars that will advance understanding in key science fields like astrobiology,” Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, said in a press release. “This contest is a cool way to engage the next generation and encourage careers in all STEM fields. The chosen name will help define this rover’s unique personality among our fleet of Martian spacecraft.”
NASA received more than 28,000 names and essay submissions from K-12 students around the U.S. and have been narrowing them down piece by piece. The next round of elimination will bring the number of finalists to just nine options, and the public will then be allowed to vote online for their favourite later this month. The online poll won’t be the final say on the Mars rover’s name, but NASA says it “will be a consideration in the final naming selection.”
Some of the names are repeated because that’s simply what happens when you get so many entries. But the reasons behind each name given in each student’s essay will ultimately help determine the winner.
This system of naming rovers isn’t without precedent. Back in 2009, sixth-grade student Clara Ma came up with the name Curiosity for that famous rover. Ma is now part of the panel of experts helping to choose the next round of winners.
The full list of names is available at the Future Engineers website, but you can click below to read each student’s essay on why their name should be chosen.
Grades K-4 Semifinalists
Grades 5-8 Semifinalists
Grades 9-12 Semifinalists
What’s your favourite?