Later this week, NASA will conduct a live event during which it will announce the official name of the Mars rover that will launch later this year. Until now, NASA has referred to this machine as the Mars 2020 rover, but we’ve known for quite a while that this is only a temporary placeholder. The space agency recently held a contest in which it invited students in the US to contribute name suggestions.
Back in August 2019, NASA launched a Mars 2020 rover naming contest for students ages K through 12. This past January, the space agency revealed the nine finalists it had picked from the approximately 28,000 name suggestions, including ones like Fortitude, Clarity, Perseverance, Vision, and Tenacity. The public was invited to vote on which name it preferred.
Though NASA accepted votes, it said at the time that it will use these as part of its overall decision — it won’t necessarily go with the name people liked the most. The voting closed on January 27 and now, finally, NASA says that it is ready to reveal the winner.
At 1:30PM EST / 10:30AM PST on March 5, NASA will reveal the Mars 2020 rover’s official name live on NASA Television; it will be available to stream on Twitter, Facebook, Ustream, YouTube, and on the space agency’s website. A teleconference on the announcement will be held at 3:30PM EST / 12:30PM PST after the live announcement in order to offer more details.
The live stream will include the student whose essay and name was selected as the winning submission, as well as NASA Science Mission Directorate associate administrator Thomas Zurbuchen and others. Assuming everything goes according to schedule, the Mars 2020 rover will launch later this summer.