Nasa’s next Mars rover will be called Perseverance

To date, the project has been known only by its code name – Mars 2020.

From now on, it will be referred to as the Perseverance rover.

The name came out of a schools competition that drew 28,000 entries.

The Perseverance rover will begin the process of trying to bring rocks back to Earth for study.

It will trundle through an equatorial crater, looking for the best samples it can cache for retrieval by a later mission.

Scientists think this will be the best approach to establishing whether or not life has ever existed on Mars.

Nasa’s naming competition asked children to submit their favoured name along with a supporting 150-word essay.

An army of volunteers — educators, professionals and space enthusiasts — was employed to whittle down the avalanche of ideas into a more manageable shortlist of nine on which the public was then asked to vote.

Nasa’s director of science, Thomas Zurbuchen, announced the winner on Thursday.

The name Perseverance was suggested by Alexander Mather, a 13-year-old student from Virginia.

 

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