Reading time ( words)
The name of NASA's next Mars rover, currently known as Mars 2020, will be unveiled during a live event on NASA Television at 10:30 a.m. PST (1:30 p.m. EST) Thursday, March 5, followed by a media teleconference at 12:30 p.m. PST (3:30 p.m. EST), about the mission and the naming.
The Mars 2020 rover was the subject of a nationwide naming contest in 2019 that drew more than 28,000 essays by K-12 students from every U.S. state and territory. Nearly 4,700 volunteer judges - educators, professionals and space enthusiasts from around the country - helped narrow the pool down to 155 semifinalists. A second round of judging selected the nine finalist essays that were open to an online public poll before Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, made the final selection.
The live event will include:
- Thomas Zurbuchen
- Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters
- Deanne Bell, founder and CEO of Future Engineers in Burbank, California
- The student who submitted the winning name and essay
The naming contest partnership is part of a Space Act Agreement in educational and public outreach efforts between NASA, Battelle of Columbus, Ohio, and Future Engineers. Amazon Web Services is a prize provider for the Mars 2020 naming contest.
The Mars 2020 rover currently is at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida being prepared for launch this summer. Kennedy is responsible for launch management. The rover is part of a larger exploration program that includes missions to the Moon to prepare for human missions to the Red Planet. Charged with returning astronauts to the Moon by 2024, NASA will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028 through NASA's Artemis program.