Online Poll for NASA's Mars Rover Naming Contest Opens March 23

Artist concept of Mars Science Laboratory Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Artist concept of Mars Science Laboratory Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
  • submit to reddit

March 18, 2009

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA will post online nine names that are finalists for the agency's Mars Science Laboratory mission and invite the public to vote for its favorite. The non-binding poll to help NASA select a name opens online Monday, March 23, and will accept votes through March 29.

More than 9,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grades submitted essays proposing names for the rover in a nationwide contest that ended Jan. 25. Entries came from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the families of American service personnel overseas. NASA will select the winning name, based on a student's essay and the public poll, and announce the name in April.

"The names that students proposed range from heroes to animals and bugs," said Michelle Viotti, manager of the Mars Public Engagement program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "No matter what name is finally chosen, this is a mission for everyone, and we can't wait to start calling this rover by name."

The student who submitted the winning name will be invited to JPL to sign the rover. Additionally, all 30 student semifinalists in the naming contest will have an opportunity to place an individually-tailored message on a microchip that will be carried on the car-sized robotic explorer.

For worldwide participation beyond the contest, the public also has a chance to participate in "Send Your Name to Mars." The agency will collect names to be recorded on the microchip. Names will be collected via the contest Web link beginning Monday, March 23.

The naming contest is part of a Space Act Agreement between NASA and Disney. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures is the prize provider for the contest. This collaboration made it possible for WALL-E, the animated robotic hero from the 2008 movie of the same name, to appear in the online content inviting students to participate.

Scheduled to launch in 2011 and land on Mars in 2012, the rover will use a set of advanced science instruments to check whether the environment in a selected landing region ever has been favorable for supporting microbial life and preserving evidence of such life. The rover also will search for minerals that formed in the presence of water and look for chemical building blocks of life.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the Mars Science Laboratory mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

To view the nine finalist names and cast your vote, visit: http://marsrovername.jpl.nasa.gov .

Media Contact: Guy Webster  818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov

Dwayne Brown 202-358-1726
NASA Headquarters, Washington
dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov

2009-055



In its next phase, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will perform 22 loops between Saturn and its innermost ring. Join in the Cassini Name Game

› Read more

For those in search of comet L4 PANSTARRS, look to the west after sunset in early and mid-March. Comet PANSTARRS Rises to the Occasion Mid-March

› Read more

Diagram depicting the passage of asteroid 2012 DA14 through the Earth-moon system on Feb. 15, 2013. NASA to Chronicle Close Earth Flyby of Asteroid

› Read more


Get JPL Updates
Sign Up for JPL UpdatesRegister today and receive up-to-the-minute e-mail alerts delivered directly to your inbox.
Sign Up for JPL Updates