A little bit over a yr from now, NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will launch for Cape Canaveral and start its journey to the Pink Planet. When it arrives, in February 2021, it would start exploring the Jezero Crater to be taught extra about Mars’ previous and seek for proof of previous and current life. However earlier than that occurs, this robotic explorer nonetheless wants a correct identify.
Like its predecessors, Spirit, Alternative, and Curiosity, the Mars 2020 rover will get its official identify with the assistance of a nationwide contest. In direction of this finish, NASA just lately introduced that it has partnered with two organizations to offer Ok-12 college students all throughout the US an opportunity to call the rover that may proceed within the seek for life and pave the best way for people to start exploring Mars.
The partnered organizations embody Battelle Schooling, a worldwide utilized science and expertise improvement nonprofit based mostly in Columbus, Ohio; and Future Engineers, a web-based innovation and incentive-challenge host based mostly in Burbank, California. In step with NASA’s efforts to interact the general public in its missions to the Moon and Mars, they are going to be serving to to launch the Mars 2020 “Identify the Rover” contest this Fall.
This artist’s rendition depicts NASA’s Mars 2020 rover learning its environment. Credit score: NASA
Following within the footsteps of its predecessor, Curiosity, this 1,000 kg (2,300 lbs) robotic laboratory will use a sophisticated suite of devices to seek for indicators of previous microbial life and characterize the planet’s local weather and geology. The mission may even embody a pattern caching instrument designed to assist the rover gather samples of Martian soil for an eventual return mission to Earth.
As George Tahu, the Mars 2020 program govt in NASA’s Planetary Science Division, mentioned in a latest NASA press launch:
“We’re very enthusiastic about this distinctive partnership. Contests like this current wonderful alternatives to ask younger college students and educators to be part of this journey to know the probabilities for all times past Earth and to advance new capabilities in exploration expertise.”
As with earlier naming competitions, NASA’s “Identify the Rover” competitors is targeted on Ok-12 entries as a way to have interaction U.S. college students within the course of that makes area exploration doable. The competition additionally goals to stimulate curiosity in science, expertise, engineering, and arithmetic (STEM) and encourage the subsequent era of scholars to pursue careers in these fields.
Battelle might be aiding by providing college students the power to attach with the Mars 2020 mission via its portfolio of STEM networks, in addition to by aiding with the recruitment of judges, college students and curating assets for lecturers. Future Engineering might be aiding the competition by hosted it on its net platform, which can function the net portal for entry submission and judging.
Promotional poster for the “Identify that Rover” competitors. Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Talking of which, NASA is on the lookout for volunteers to assist choose the competition since 1000’s of submissions are anticipated to come back pouring in as soon as the competitors begins. The applying to turn into a contest choose could be discovered on the Future Engineering web site, and people US residents which might be are suggested that the method will solely take about 5 hours.
So for those who’re a Ok-12 scholar residing within the US, or a US citizen, don’t hesitate to become involved. The identify you counsel (or assist choose) may very well be the one which goes to Mars subsequent yr!
Additional Studying: NASA