The Mars 2020 Rover will be called Perseverance. NASA chose this name from over 28,000 submissions to the naming contest that it launched back in August last year whereby K-12 students from every U.S. state and territory submitted their recommendations for naming the rover and along with it a short essay explaining their choice of the name.
Alexander Mather, a 13-year-old, 7th grade student from Virginia and one of the nine finalists, submitted the winning name—Perseverance—and along with it the following essay:
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.
Mather will also be invited to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to witness Perseverance begin its journey in July this year. However, NASA is also acknowledging the contributions of the 115 semifinalists whose entries were among the top ones considered. Lori Glaze, the Director of NASA's Planetary Science Division announced:
"So, we decided to send them a little farther – 314 million miles farther. All 155 semifinalists’ proposed rover names and essays have been stenciled onto a silicon chip with lines of text smaller than one-thousandth the width of a human hair and will be flown to Mars aboard the rover.”
Currently, Perseverance is undergoing its final stages of development at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It is slated to land on the Jezero Crater on Mars around 3:40 PM EST (12:40 p.m. PST) February 18, next year.
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