NASA asks students to help name the next Mars rover

The next NASA Rover is on schedule to land on Mars in February 2021, but it’s still missing one vital component: a name. In order to create interest in the mission, and to inspire students to join in the STEM subjects that make space exploration possible, NASA is sponsoring a contest called Name the Rover. Open to K-12 students in US public, private, and home schools, it is an essay contest in which students will be asked to name the robotic space traveler and explain the reasons behind their chosen appellation.

If you, a student in your household, or in your class (if you’re a teacher) would like to give it a try, it’s very simple. Just go to the Name the Rover Challenge page, and click on the “Student and Teacher Signup” button. Entries will be judged on the significance and originality of both the name and the essay chosen.


Name the Rover contest

Image courtesy Nasa/JPL-Caltech

Rules of the contest include:

  • The name chosen must be no more than 50 characters, and the essay should be no more than 150 words.
  • One entry per student.
  • The name can’t be a repetition of a past space mission or NASA flight program.
  • If you want to use a real person’s name, they must be deceased.
  • No corporate or trademarked names, and of course, the essay must be completely original,

The deadline to enter is November 1st, and final entries will be put up on the site for a public poll in January 2020.

Not a student? Want to participate anyway? You can help judge the thousands of anticipated entries by signing up as a judge.

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