In case you haven’t been paying much attention to NASA’s plans for 2020, let me get you up to speed on what is probably the most exciting mission happening this year: NASA is launching another rover to Mars this summer. Right now, it’s called the Mars 2020 rover, which is pretty darn boring. It needs a new name, so NASA asked K-12 students to submit essays with their name suggestions.
Nearly 30,000 such entries came flooding in, and thousands of volunteer judges spent countless hours narrowing them down. The entries were slowly filtered until just 155 semifinalists remained, and now, after further consideration by NASA, a mere 9 finalists are still in the running.
NASA’s space-faring hardware often sticks to an inspirational naming scheme. Mars rovers in particular, like Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity all follow that trend, so it should come as no surprise that the finalists for the Mars 2020 rover feel very familiar.
Here’s the final list, including the name, grade group, and state of the student who submitted it:
- Endurance, K-4, Oliver Jacobs of Virginia
- Tenacity, K-4, Eamon Reilly of Pennsylvania
- Promise, K-4, Amira Shanshiry of Massachusetts
- Perseverance, 5-8, Alexander Mather of Virginia
- Vision, 5-8, Hadley Green of Mississippi
- Clarity, 5-8, Nora Benitez of California
- Ingenuity, 9-12, Vaneeza Rupani of Alabama
- Fortitude, 9-12, Anthony Yoon of Oklahoma
- Courage, 9-12, Tori Gray of Louisiana
“Thousands of students have shared their ideas for a name that will do our rover and the team proud,” NASA’s Lori Glaze said in a statement. “Thousands more volunteered time to be part of the judging process. Now it is the public’s opportunity to become involved and express their excitement for their favorites of the final nine.”
Now comes the fun part: NASA needs your help to select the winner! For the next five days, NASA is collecting votes on its Mars 2020 mission website, and you can pick your favorite and keep your fingers crossed that your selection is ultimately chosen.