Speed Reads

Mars or Bust

NASA wants kids to help name its 2020 Mars rover

NASA on Tuesday announced a nationwide contest to help select the name for its next Mars rover, planned to launch in July 2020.

The contest, expected to begin in the fall of 2019, will give K-12 students in the U.S. the "chance to make history" by naming the rover, NASA said. It's aimed at students in order to engage more young people across the country in the scientific work that goes into NASA's various exploratory missions. Contests like this one are an opportunity to "invite young students and educators to be a part of this journey," said George Tahu, NASA's Mars 2020 program executive.

But K-12 students aren't the only ones who can be a part of the contest in some way — NASA has also opened registration for people to judge the contest. Presumably, the judging process will aim to weed out names like Rovery McRoverface.

The rover, regardless of its eventual name, will be sent to Mars in order to gather information about the red planet's climate and geology, as well as collecting potential signs of life. Learn more about the 2020 Mars rover at NASA, or read about its naming contest here.