NASA has announced that it is running a contest that will allow K-12 students the opportunity to name the rover that will be part of the Mars 2020 mission. NASA has selected two partner organizations to run the nationwide contest and is now asking for applications for judges to decide on the name.
The two organizations are Battelle Education, of Columbus, Ohio and Future Engineers, of Burbank, CA. The Mars 2020 “Name the Rover” contest will open to students in the Fall of 2019. NASA aims to use the contest to engage the public in its missions to the Moon and Mars.
The rover portion of the Mars 2020 mission is currently unnamed, and it will weigh in at over 2,300 pounds. The rover will search for signs of past microbial life on Mars and characterize the planet’s climate and geology as well as collect samples to return to Earth in the future. The spacecraft carrying the rover is set to launch in July 2020 and should land on Mars in February 2021.
Battelle plans to connect students to the Mars 2020 mission using its STEM networks and to recruit judges and students as well as collect current resources for teachers. Future Engineers is a company that uses contests and challenges to engage students.
NASA is seeking judges to help pour through the entries that are expected to be seen. Any U.S. resident can register to be a judge and needs to plan to give 5-hours of their time to review student submitted rover names. Registering to be a judge can be done here. We expect that Rovie McRoverface will be submitted a bunch of times and would make a nice name for the rover. If the rover discovered life on Mars, Rovie McRoverface would make for a nice entry in the history books.