Name the Rover Contest

Name the Rover Contest

The Mars 2020 Rover Has a Name!

The next rover to Mars now has its own identity. NASA's "Name the Rover" essay contest is officially complete, and — drumroll, please — the rover's new name is: Perseverance!

Seventh-grader Alex Mather from Springfield, Virginia submitted the winning essay, which was selected by NASA from a field of over 28,000 entries from K-12 students in every state in the U.S.

Meet 'Perseverance'—And the Student Who Named It

Alex's Winning Essay

Alexander Mather
Alexander Mather
7th Grade, Springfield, VA
Photo Credit: Joseph Rebello

Full image and caption ›

Curiosity. InSight. Spirit. Opportunity. If you think about it, all of these names of past Mars rovers are qualities we possess as humans. We are always curious, and seek opportunity. We have the spirit and insight to explore the Moon, Mars, and beyond. But, if rovers are to be the qualities of us as a race, we missed the most important thing. Perseverance. We as humans evolved as creatures who could learn to adapt to any situation, no matter how harsh. We are a species of explorers, and we will meet many setbacks on the way to Mars. However, we can persevere. We, not as a nation but as humans, will not give up. The human race will always persevere into the future.

Alex brainstormed for two weeks before submitting his winning entry, and was inspired by the path of previous NASA rovers Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity in describing our characteristics as a species. Alex says participating in the contest changed his life. “I got more involved with model rocketry, 3D printing, and other STEM-related activities.” How does it feel to have his entry chosen? “There are no words in the human language that can accurately describe the feeling.”

In addition to the honor of naming the rover, Alex and his family were invited to watch its July 2020 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Mars 2020 Rover Name Announcement

Thank You to All Who Participated

NASA appreciates the efforts of the 28,000 students who submitted entries, the 4,700 volunteers who signed up to help as judges, and the fans around the world who submitted over 770,000 votes in our online poll.

All 155 semifinalists' proposed rover names and essays have been stenciled onto a tiny silicon chip, which will ride along mounted to the top of the rover as Perseverance explores the Red Planet.

Follow the rover's journey on Facebook and Twitter.

Public Poll Participation Map

legend for participation map

    Key Dates

    • Contest
      Aug. 28 2019
    • Contest
      Nov. 01 2019
    • Judging
      Nov. - Jan. 2019
    • Public
      Jan. 2020
    • Final Name
      Mar. 2020

    By participating in the essay contest, students:

    • Learned about the Mars 2020 mission
    • Applied their critical thinking skills
    • Learned something new, and formed questions about a place they may never have heard of
    • Conducted research using NASA websites
    • Applied their writing skills