08 / 28 / 19


Red rover, red rover, send a name for Mars 2020 right over!

NASA, Future Engineers, and Battelle Education are recruiting help from students nationwide to find a name for the next Mars rover mission. Starting today K-12 students in U.S. public, private, and home schools are encouraged to enter the Mars 2020 "Name the Rover" essay contest. One grand prize winner will name the rover and receive an invitation to see the spacecraft launch in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The student "Name the Rover" contest is part of NASA's efforts to engage U.S. students in the engineering and scientific enterprise behind Mars exploration and to inspire interest in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology.

The naming contest partnership is part of a Space Act Agreement between NASA, Future Engineers, of Burbank, California, and Battelle Education, of Columbus, Ohio, and in educational and public outreach efforts.

The Mars 2020 rover is a robotic scientist weighing more than 2,300 pounds (more than 1,040 kilograms). It will search for signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet's climate and geology, collect samples for future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.

To enter the contest, students submit their rover name and a short essay (150-word maximum) explaining the reasons why their selected name should be chosen. Students will be divided into three groups, by grade levels K-4, 5-8, and 9-12, and judged on the appropriateness and significance of their proposed name, originality of the name, and the originality and quality of their essay and/or finalist interview presentation.

Student essays must be received by Nov. 1, 2019.

Fifty-two semifinalists per grade level group will be selected, each representing their respective state or U.S. territory. Three finalists per grade level group will then be selected to advance to the final round of judging.

In January 2020, the public will have an opportunity to vote on the nine finalist names online as an additional part of the final selection process. NASA plans to announce the selected rover name on Feb. 18, 2020, exactly one year before the rover will land on the surface of Mars. All contest and prize details are available on the contest website.

"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!"

With all major elements aboard and initial functional checks complete, the project's Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO) team is preparing the rover and its "skycrane" descent stage for the next big test: simulating the vibration dynamics of launch and the thermal environment the rover will experience on the surface of Mars.

The Mars 2020 Project at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages rover development for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. NASA's Launch Services Program, based at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch management.

Register to be a Judge!
NASA, Future Engineers, and Battelle Education are still seeking volunteers to help judge the thousands of contest entries anticipated to pour in from around the country. U.S. residents interested in offering approximately five hours of their time to review student-submitted rover names may visit the Future Engineers website and register to be a judge:

For contest and prize details, visit: