Out of 28,000 suggestions, NASA selected the name Perseverance for its Mars 2020 rover, which will search for signs of life on the Red Planet

Out of 28,000 suggestions, NASA selected the name Perseverance for its Mars 2020 rover, which will search for signs of life on the Red Planet

By Leah Crane
The newly named Perseverance rover will head to Mars in July 2020
NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASAs Mars 2020 rover finally has a name: Perseverance. It was suggested by a secondary school student in West Virginia, and beat out more than 28,000 entries in a public contest.
Perseverance is a strong word: its about making progress despite obstacles, said NASAs Thomas Zurbuchen during the announcement of the winning name, adding that it represents humankinds dedication to exploring space regardless of how hard it is.
The rover is planned to launch aboard an Atlas V rocket in July 2020, and arrive on Mars in February 2021. It will carry with it a suite of scientific instruments including ground-penetrating radar, spectrometers to measure the composition of the soil, several cameras to take both panoramic and close-up images of the Martian surface.
It will also have a small helicopter that will be the first heavier-than-air aircraft on another world, and a device to produce oxygen from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Both of these are technology demonstrations designed to make future exploration by both robots and humans easier and more efficient.
The rover’s mission has two goals. First, to take scientific measurements that help us understand the past and present Martian environment, and determine whether it could have ever hosted life. And second, to collect samples of Martian soil for a future mission to bring back to Earth.
That mission, another rover currently planned to launch in 2026, will pick up test tubes packed by Perseverance and bring them back to Earth, where we will be able to study them with more detail than weve ever been able to examine pristine Mars rocks before.
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