Status Report

Online Poll for NASA’s Mars Rover Naming Contest Now Open

By SpaceRef Editor
March 24, 2009
Filed under , ,

NASA has posted online nine rover 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 will accept votes through March 29, 2009.

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, 2009. 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 student who submitted the winning name will be invited to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to sign the rover. Additionally, all 30 student semi-finalists 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 has a chance to participate in “Send Your Name to Mars.” The agency will collect names to be recorded on the chip. Names will be collected via the contest Web link beginning today.

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.

To view the nine finalist names and cast your vote, visit

SpaceRef staff editor.