The marketing campaign to call NASA’s subsequent Mars rover is now underway.
Yesterday (Aug. 27), the area company started asking Ok-12 college students round the USA to submit monikers for the life-hunting, sample-caching robotic explorer, which is at present often called Mars 2020.
The competition runs by Nov. 1, and the winner will probably be invited to attend the rover’s launch from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Drive Station in July 2020.
“This naming contest is a superb alternative for our nation’s youth to become involved with NASA’s moon-to-Mars missions,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine mentioned in a press release.
“It’s an thrilling strategy to interact with a rover that can doubtless function the primary leg of a Mars sample-return marketing campaign, amassing and caching core samples from the Martian floor for scientists right here on Earth to check for the primary time,” Bridenstine added.
College students collaborating within the contest should submit a brief essay (150 phrases most) explaining why NASA ought to choose their proposed title for the car-size, 2,300-lb. (1,040 kilograms) Mars 2020. To enter or be taught extra, go to the official website for the naming contest.
“The essays will probably be divided into three teams, by grade degree — Ok-4, 5-Eight and 9-12 — and judged on the appropriateness, significance and originality of their proposed title, and the originality and high quality of their essay, and/or finalist interview presentation,” NASA officers wrote in the identical assertion. “Fifty-two semifinalists will probably be chosen per group, every representing their respective state or U.S. territory. Three finalists then will probably be chosen from every group to advance to the ultimate spherical.”
And talking of judging, the area company is on the lookout for volunteers to do that preliminary name-vetting work. If you happen to’re a U.S. resident at the very least 18 years previous who anticipates having 5 hours to spare within the coming months, you possibly can register to be a decide right here.
The ultimate choice course of will contain submitting the 9 finalists to a public vote in January 2020, NASA officers mentioned. The company plans to announce the winner on Feb. 18, 2020, precisely one 12 months earlier than Mars 2020 is scheduled to the touch down contained in the Crimson Planet’s Jezero Crater.
This contest is nothing new for NASA; the company has a practice of letting youngsters title Mars rovers. The Curiosity rover, for instance, bought its moniker a few decade in the past from Clara Ma, then a Kansas sixth grader.
Mars 2020 relies closely on Curiosity, which has been exploring the 96-mile-wide (154 km) Gale Crater since August 2012. The brand new rover sports activities the identical chassis and the identical “sky crane” touchdown system as its older cousin.
Curiosity’s observations have proven that Mars was able to supporting Earth-like life for lengthy stretches within the historical previous. Mars 2020 will take further steps in investigating that historical past, trying to find precise indicators of long-dead microbes and amassing and caching samples for eventual return to Earth.
Mike Wall’s guide concerning the seek for alien life, “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), is out now. Observe him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Observe us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Fb.