Michigan student is semifinalist to name NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover


CAPE CANAVERAL, FL (WLNS) – More than 28,000 essay submissions were received from K-12 students across the nation to name NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover.

The submissions have been narrowed to 155 semifinalists and one of those students is Jordyn Mason of Romulus, Michigan.

The reason I picked Calypso is because in 1950, Jacques Cousteau made a ship named Calypso. Jacques was a pioneer of undersea exploration, and this rover will be an explorer of the unknown, just like Jacques Cousteau.

Jordyn Mason

The currently unnamed rover is a robotic scientist weighing more than 2,300 pounds.

Just one student will be selected to win the grand prize and the honor of naming the rover comes with an invitation to see the spacecraft launch in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The rover 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.

“This rover is the first leg of a round-trip mission to Mars that will advance understanding in key science fields like astrobiology,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division. “This contest is a cool way to engage the next generation and encourage careers in all STEM fields. The chosen name will help define this rover’s unique personality among our fleet of Martian spacecraft.”

The next phases of judging will reduce the competition to nine finalists, and the public will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite name online in late January. The results of the poll will be a consideration in the final naming selection.

The nine finalists will talk with a panel of experts, including Glaze, NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins, NASA JPL rover driver Nick Wiltsie and Clara Ma, who proposed the name for the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, as a sixth-grade student in 2009.

The grand prize winner will be announced in early March 2020.

This illustration depicts NASA’s next Mars rover, which launches in 2020.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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