NASA recruits help from students to name next Mars rover mission

NASA has announced it is inviting students nationwide to name its next Mars rover mission, the space administration said.

K-12 students in US public, private and home schools can enter the Mars 2020 Name the Rover essay contest. One grand prize winner will name the rover and be invited to see the spacecraft launch in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

NASA´s Mars 2020 Rover is preparing to launch to the Red Planet in July 2020, but it doesn´t have a name yet. NASA is asking K-12 students across the United States to send in essays with their best name ideas by Nov. 1.

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 future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.

NASA´s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages rover development for the agency. The Launch Services Program at NASA´s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for launch management.