NASA on Tuesday opened up registrations that allow students to enter the Mars 2020 the Rover essay contest. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory also released a short clip asking schools to enter the contest and name the rover for NASA's next Mars mission. NASA said it is prepping to launch the Mars 2020 Rover to the Red Planet in July 2020. Since it doesn't have a name yet, NASA is calling K-12 students across the US to send in essays with their name ideas. The NASA deadline to submit the entries is 1st November 2019. NASA will also invite the grand prize winner of the contest to witness the spacecraft launch in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Calling all U.S. K-12 students: We need your help naming our #Mars2020 rover! Learn how to submit an essay: https://t.co/f8JtReBurj— NASA (@NASA) August 28, 2019
And if you’re not a student, we also need judges! 🤓 pic.twitter.com/Xfv3Ig6Jic
"This naming contest is a wonderful opportunity for our nation’s youth to get involved with NASA’s Moon to Mars missions,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "It is an exciting way to engage with a rover that will likely serve as the first leg of a Mars Sample return campaign, collecting and caching core samples from the Martian surface for scientists here on Earth to study for the first time.”
NASA's Mars 2020 mission aims to search for signs of past microbial life. Scientists will also characterise Mars' climate and geology. The rover weighs about 2300-pound.
“Our Mars 2020 rover has fully taken shape over the past several months, as the project team installed various components onto the chassis: the computer brain and electronics; wheels and mobility system; robotic arm; remote sensing mast; the seven science instruments; and finally, the sample caching system," said George Tahu, Mars 2020 program executive. "All that’s missing is a great name!”
The deadline to submit entries with proposed rover name and a short essay is 1st November. NASA said it would divide into three groups based on levels of grades: K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. NASA will select 52 semifinalists for every group. NASA said each group represent their respective state. For the final, NASA will choose three finalists from each group. NASA will announce the grand prize winner on 18th February 2020.