NASA sends new rover to Mars in 2020

Alyson Gad, Reporter

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       NASA invites students K-12 to participate in a naming contest of their newest rover which is heading to Mars in 2020. This contest is being held until Nov 1, 2019.

       The rover’s landing site is located on Jezero Crater, which upon examination from orbit, shows that water once carved channels and transported sediments. Those sediments have minerals that indicate chemical alteration by water, which is big news for this historically dry planet.

       The rover’s launch window is set between July and Aug of 2020, but not predicted to land until Feb of 2021. This mission is programmed to last at least one Mars year, about 687 Earth days.

       Things to consider when brainstorming name ideas are the rover’s actual build and structure. The design is based off of Curiosity’s configuration, a previous Mars rover. It is about the size of a car, and is built with parts that are imitations of what living creatures familiar to us would need to survive.

       Another name inspiration factor is the high-priority goals this mission wishes to achieve, which fall under the question: is life possible on Mars? Not only will this strive to seek signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the past, but look for signs of prior microbial life itself.

       As well as being designed like any other life bearing organism, this rover is equipped with a new drill with intent to collect core samples of rocks and soil. These samples will be set aside in hopes that a future mission could return these samples to Earth.

       To become a contest participant an essay must be submitted within the next 28 days. Once all essays are collected there will be a national poll to officially name the rover.

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