Humans are going to Mars, and students have until Nov. 1, 2019, for a chance to name a Mars Rover. The winner will be invited to see the spacecraft launch in July 2020 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

“Our Mars 2020 rover has 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!”

All students–kindergarten through 12th grade–in public, private and home schools in the United States have been invited to submit essays to name NASA’s next Mars rover. To enter the contest, students must send in their proposed rover name and a short essay, no more than 150 words, explaining why their proposed name should be chosen.

As part of the final selection process, the public will have an opportunity to vote online on the nine finalists in January 2020. NASA plans to announce the selected name on Feb. 18, 2020 – exactly one year before the rover will land on the surface of Mars. Click here for the complete contest and prize details.

The Mars 2020 rover is a 2,300-pound robotic scientist that will search for signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet’s climate and geology, collect samples for a future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.

The Mars 2020 Name the Rover essay contest is part of NASA’s efforts to engage students in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) enterprise behind Mars exploration and inspire interest in STEM.

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