A new generation of rovers from the United States is still waiting for its official name. According to NASA's practice, its naming rights are in the hands of a group of children. According to the official website of the "named Mars rover competition", students in the K12 basic education stage in the United States (equivalent to the domestic kindergarten to high school stage) can submit a short article with a name and no more than 150 words to explain the reason for naming.
Children who eventually win the naming rights will receive a prize: invited to a launch ceremony with their families at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida in June 2020.
The experts include Lori Glaze, NASA's director of planetary science, astronaut Jessica Watkins, Mars vehicle operator Nick Wiltsie and Chinese girl Clara Ma.
In 2009, 12-year-old Maggie named "curiosity"
Ten years ago, 12-year-old Maggie beat 9200 competing plans in a similar contest to name the curiosity for NASA's Mars rover launched in 2011. "Curiosity is a constant flame in everyone's heart," she wrote at the time. It drives me to get up every day and I don't know what surprises life will throw me today. Curiosity is such a powerful force. Without it, we can't grow into ourselves today. When I was little, I wondered why the sky was blue? Why do stars blink? Why am I? I'm still curious. "
The Curiosity has been working on the Red Planet for more than seven years and is the only Mars vehicle NASA is still running. The twin rover "courage" and "opportunity ", which were launched earlier, were also named by students and have been lost.
The 2020 Mars launch window will open on July 17, and the planned launch time of Mars 2020 rover is set for July or August. If all goes well, it will land on February 18, 2021 in the Jezero crater in the northern hemisphere of Mars, 45 kilometers wide and 500 meters deep. Scientists believe that billions of years ago this area might have been a river delta with livability.
NASA's 2020 Mars Vehicle
In the past, the Mars probe has found water ice and organic matter under the surface of Mars, but it has never found the real hammer of Martian life. The main task of Mars 2020 rover is to continue to search for signs of life on Mars, take samples to return to earth in the future and submit them to scientists for analysis. In addition, it will also describe the climate and address characteristics of Mars, which will pave the way for human landing on Mars in the future.
Glazer believes that as a means to encourage young people to participate in science and engineering research, the naming contest is "cool" and can also give the rover a different temperament.
Among the 155 finalists on the official website, there are many that are closely related to the core mission of the 2020 Mars Rover: to find signs of life and pave the way for human landing. For example, "human nature", "decoder" and "believer" appeared in the group of grade 4 and below, "optimism" and "footprints" appeared in the group of grade 5 to grade 8, "possibility", "catalyst" and "seeker" appeared in the group of grade 9 to grade 12.