NASA has announced that it has named its Mars 2020 rover Perseverance. The name was the culmination of a country-wide “Name the Rover” essay contest for K-12 students that attracted over 28,000 entries.
The name of the Mars 2020 rover was announced during a March 5 presentation from Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate. The presentation was held at the Lake Braddock Secondary School in Virginia from which the winning essay was submitted by seventh-grader Alexander Mather.
“Alex’s entry captured the spirit of exploration,” said Zurbuchen. “Like every exploration mission before, our rover is going to face challenges, and it’s going to make amazing discoveries That inspiring work will always require perseverance. We can’t wait to see that nameplate on Mars.”
In his winning essay, Mather explained that as other names rovers had in the past, the name of the Mars 2020 rover should highlight one of humanity’s most treasured qualities.
“Curiosity, InSight, Spirit, Opportunity. If you think about it, all of these names of past rovers are qualities we possess as humans. We are always curious and seek opportunity. We have the spirit and insight to explore the Moon, Mars and beyond. But if rovers are to be the qualities of us as a race, we missed the most important thing: perseverance.”
Perseverance is expected to be launched no later than August this aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V. It is then expected to spend approximately six months in transit and touch down on Mars’ Jezero Crater a little after 20:40 UTC on February 18, 2021.