The competition hosted by NASA will take place in Fall 2019. (Image Credit: NASA)

So, "Rovie McRoverface" going to win?


NASA has chosen two organizations to participate in running a contest designated for students from grades K-12 in the United States, allowing them to enter their submissions to name the Mars 2020 rover. The space agency is also accepting applications to become a judge in the contest, which can be found online. Battelle Education in Columbus, Ohio and Future Engineers in Burbank, California will be teaming up with NASA for the “Name the Rover” contest, starting in Fall 2019. The competition is part of NASA’s plans to get the public more involved in their Mars and Moon missions.


The rover is a robotic marvel of science that weights over 2,300 points and will search for tiny deposits of microbial life, define Mars’ climate by measuring weather patterns, characterize its geology, gather samples for return missions to Earth, and will pave the way for the agency’s long term goal of sending humans to Mars. The rover is expected to begin its 7-month journey to Mars on July 2020, launching in Cape Canaveral, Air Force Station in Florida, with its arrival set for February 2021.


"We’re very excited about this exceptional partnership," said George Tahu, Mars 2020 program executive in NASA's Planetary Science Division at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington. "Contests like this present excellent opportunities to invite young students and educators to be a part of this journey to understand the possibilities for life beyond Earth and to advance new capabilities in exploration technology.”


With the competition set and ready to open in Fall 2019, NASA aims to use it as a means of getting more U.S. students involved in the engineering and scientific work that makes the mission possible. The new competition also supports bigger goals to help raise interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and to help inspire, teach and grow the next generation of STEM leaders.


Battelle’s role in the competition will be helping to create a connection for students to stay engaged in the Mars 2020 naming contest through their collection of STEM networks. They will also help to hire judges and students and will supply teachers with resources.


Meanwhile, Future Engineers is an education technology company that involves students from grades K-12 in contests and challenges. The “Name the Rover” competition will be hosted on the Future Engineers website, which will also be used to accept submissions and judge entrants’ submissions.


NASA is also searching for volunteers to participate in the competition as judges, helping to decide the winner among thousands of entrants expected to enter. Those interested in becoming a judge may visit the Future Engineers website to register and they must be a U.S. resident and will need to dedicate five hours of their time to look at submissions.


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