The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), in cooperation with Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures' movie WALL-E from Pixar Animation Studios, will conduct a naming contest for its next Mars rover. The car-sized Mars Science Laboratory is scheduled for launch in 2009.
The contest began November 18, and is open to students 5 to 18 years old who attend a U.S. school and are enrolled in the current academic year. To enter the contest, students will submit essays explaining why their suggested name for the rover should be chosen. Essays must be received by January 25, 2009. In March 2009, the public will have an opportunity to rank nine finalist names via the Internet as additional input for judges to consider during the selection process. NASA will announce the winning rover name in April 2009.
Disney will provide prizes to students submitting winning essays, including a trip to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., where the rover is under construction. The grand prize winner will have an opportunity to place a signature on the spacecraft and take part personally in the history of space exploration.
The Mars Science Laboratory rover will be larger and more capable than any craft previously sent to land there. It will check whether the environment in a carefully selected landing region ever has been favorable for supporting microbial life. The rover will search for minerals that formed in the presence of water and look for several chemical building blocks of life.
Entry forms and a selection of books about Mars are available from a special display in our library's Youth Services area!
Think hard, write well, and good luck!