Contest gives students chance to name next Mars rover

An artist's rendering from NASA depicts the Mars 2020 Rover.

HOUSTON – What would you name the next Mars rover?

NASA wants ideas from students in U.S. public, private and home schools. Kindergarten through 12th-grade students can enter the Mars 2020 Name the Rover essay contest.

"This naming contest is a wonderful opportunity for our nation's youth to get involved with NASA's Moon to Mars missions," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "It is an exciting way to engage with a rover that will likely serve as the first leg of a Mars sample return campaign, collecting and caching core samples from the Martian surface for scientists here on Earth to study for the first time."

The contest

Students need to submit their proposed rover name and a short essay by Nov. 1.

The essay is to be no longer than 150 words and should explain the name they are proposing.

There will be 52 semifinalists chosen in three groups -- K-4, 5-8 and 9-12.

Click here for more information about the contest.

What the winner gets

The grand prize winner will be invited to see the spacecraft launch in July 202 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

What is the rover?

The rover is a "2,300-pound robotic scientist" that will search the planet for signs of life, evaluate the planet's climate and geology and collect samples.