NASA began developing the Mars Helicopter Scout concept several years before rover assembly. It was launched as part of the agency's ongoing effort to inspire students to gain an interest in the fields of science, engineering, mathematics and technology.
Scientists responsible for developing the latest Mars rover regularly use the Pilbara as a training ground for their inventions, but not often do they stop to talk. The victor of the contest will be invited by NASA to watch the launch of the mission. Starting Tuesday, K-12 students in US public, private and home schools may enter the Mars 2020 Name the Rover essay contest. One grand prize victor will name the rover and be invited to see the spacecraft launch in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Students need to submit their proposed rover name and a short essay by November 1. These essays will be divided into three groups, by grade level and then judged on the appropriateness, significance, and originality of both the name and the essay.
NASA will also look at the overall presentation and quality of the essay to pick a victor.
"The Wright Brothers flew the first airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, but they built it in Dayton", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. A total of 52 semifinalists will then be selected. It it fails to take to the air, the scientific goals of the Mars 2020 mission will not be inhibited.
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Scheduled to land on the red planet in February 2021, the rover now lacks a name, so NASA is asking school students to come up with a name.
You can learn more about the NASA competition and prizes by clicking here.
The rover will fly to Mars to study the planet's climate, geology but, more importantly, the rover will collect rock samples for returns to Earth.
To prevent contamination of the Martian surface, and, especially, samples taken, with terrestrial microbes or organic materials, the Rosalind Franklin and the other mission components were assembled under cleanroom conditions and will be sterilized to meet global space agreement standards. The rover is scheduled to touch down at Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021.