Monument student selected as semi-finalist to name Mars 2020 rover

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MONUMENT, Colo. — Kaitlyn Ketchell, a student at Palmer Ridge High School, has been selected as a semi-finalist in NASA’s “Name The Rover Challenge.”

The competition aims to find an official name for the Mars 2020 rover.
Contestants had to submit their preferred rover name and a short essay with a maximum of 150 words to explain the reasons for the selected name.

With over 28,000 entries and 4,700 judges, Ketchell, a 10th grader, is one of 155 students across the nation to be chosen as a semi-finalist.

Elias Molen, Manager of the Space Foundation Discovery Center, Education & Operations said, “It’s like naming a planet honestly if you could name a planet and forever that’s the name you chose, that’s pretty much the level of naming a rover — it’s forever how it’s going to be referred to.”

The student contest is part of NASA’s efforts to engage the public in its missions to the Moon and Mars. The currently unnamed rover is a robotic scientist weighing more than 2,300 pounds. 

“The rover will search for signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet’s climate and geology, collect samples for a future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet. The spacecraft is targeted for a July 2020 launch and is expected to touch down on Mars in February 2021.”

2020 Future Engineers

Ketchell wants the rover to be named “Tenacity.”

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