Introducing Perseverance: NASA’s Latest Mars Rover Finally has a Name

Image credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech

NASA’s next mission that will land a rover on Mars is set to launch between July and August of this year. Scientists and engineers have spent years designing, developing, and testing all the equipment that will accompany the rover, and it is expected to descend onto the Red Planet in February of 2021. Until last week, the rover was affectionately known as Mars 2020. A nationwide naming campaign took place last August, challenging schoolchildren to come up with innovative names for the new rover by submitting an essay. This tradition has been going on for 25 years, and all Mars rovers have been named this way. With 28,000 names submitted for Mars 2020, 155 semifinalists, and 9 finalists, NASA allowed the public to vote on the most popular name. However, the ultimate decision was made by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate associate administrator Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen. The Mars 2020 naming ceremony was live-streamed on NASA television last Thursday, March 5, with the winning essay written by Alex Mathers, a seventh grader from Lake Braddock Secondary School in Virginia. And that is how Perseverance got its name. READ MORE