Chosen from among the proposals of 28,000 schoolchildren from across the United States who submitted to NASA’s ‘Name the Rover’ contest, the Mars 2020 mission rover now has a new name : Perseverance .
Alexander Mather, a seventh grader at Lake Braddock High School in Burke, Virginia, was the author of the name.
Perseverance is the latest in a long line of Red Planet explorers named after school children, from Sojourner in 1997 to twins Spirit and Opportunity, who landed on Mars in 2004, to Curiosity, which has been exploring Mars since 2012. Perseverance will be launched by NASA to Mars this summer . It is a scientific robot that weighs just under 1,043 kg.
In each case, the name was selected after a national competition. On choosing this name over others, NASA administrator Thomas Zurbuchen explained:
Alex’s idea captured the spirit of exploration. Like all previous exploration missions, our vehicle is going to face challenges, and it is going to make amazing discoveries. Alex and his classmates are the Artemis Generation, and they are going to take the next steps into space that will lead us to Mars. That inspiring work will always require perseverance. We can’t wait to see that nameplate on Mars.
Nearly 4,700 volunteer judges – educators, professionals and space enthusiasts from across the country – reviewed the submissions to help narrow the group down to 155 semi-finalists.
Perseverance is currently in the process of final assembly and verification at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.