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NASA Mars rover
An artist’s conception shows NASA’s next rover at work on the Martian surface. (NASA Illustration)

NASA’s next Mars rover was named Perseverance today, following up on a suggestion made by a seventh-grader in Virginia.

  • More than 28,000 entries were submitted in NASA’s “Name the Rover” contest, and internet users racked up 770,000 online votes for their favorites. Judges selected the entry from Alex Mather, a student at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Va., as the winner.
  • NASA’s associate administrator for science, Thomas Zurbuchen, said Perseverance will be a fitting complement to the Curiosity rover, which is still going strong on Mars almost eight years after its landing. “Perseverance and curiosity together are what exploration is all about,” Zurbuchen said.
  • Perseverance is scheduled for launch from Florida in mid-July, and is due to land in Mars’ Jezero Crater next February. One of its tasks will be to collect samples for potential return to Earth during a later mission. “It will be the first leg of the first round trip of humanity to Mars, bringing back samples that tell us secrets about life itself,” Zurbuchen said.
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