Meet Perseverance, NASA’s newly renamed Mars 2020 rover

Katie Ramirez
March 9, 2020

Perseverance has its name thanks to Alex Mather, a Northern Virginia seventh-grader whose idea was among more than 28,000 submissions to NASA by young space enthusiasts.

The name was announced Thursday by Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate, during a celebration at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia.

NASA asks the public for the names of its travelers, which it has been using on Mars missions for more than 20 years.

Mather's proposal delighted the guys from NASA, and we shouldn't be shocked at all because of it. Perseverance is a noble human attribute, and the noun will look good on the rover. "We, not as a nation, but as humans, will not give up".

The space agency's release noted that this is not the first time a nationwide contest has been used to name a rover destined for the red planet.

The next rover bound for Mars greeted the world Thursday with a new name: Perseverance. Originally, NASA received 28,000 essays from U.S. students, and thousands of volunteer judges helped whittle down the selection to the finalists.

NASA's next Mars rover finally has a name. The boy became enamored with space at age 11 while attending Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.

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It will be the fifth exploratory vehicle on the Red Planet following in the tire tracks of the similarly augustly titled Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity. More than 770,000 votes were counted online.

Alexander Mather, who wants to be a Nasa engineer when he grows up, had referenced some of these missions in his winning essay.

He will receive an invitation to travel with his family to Cape Canaveral in Florida to witness the rover begin its journey, when it launches between July 17 and August 5 this year.

It also has an improved wheel design, and carries a drill for coring samples from the Martian rocks and soil as it scours for signs of ancient microbial life.

The space agency picked the name from nine finalist options that were submitted by U.S. students ranging from kindergarten to high school.

Between Nov. 24 and December 1 of past year, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory captured what the agency describes as the "highest-resolution panorama yet of the Martian surface", compositing more than 1,000 individual images taken by the telephoto zoom lens on Curiosity's Mast Camera.

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