A Virginia middle-schooler reached for the stars.
Alexander Mather, a seventh-grader at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia, won NASA’s “Name the Rover” essay contest. The space agency announced Thursday it will use Alexander's suggested name, Perseverance, for the next Mars rover.
The Mars rover is a robotic vehicle with wheels that can easily move around the surface of Mars. The rover is able to provide information to scientists about the chemicals of rocks throughout the planet.
Alexander beat out 28,000 other entries in the nationwide contest.
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"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," he wrote in his winning essay.
You can read the rest of his essay here.
"Alex's entry captured the spirit of exploration," Thomas Zurbuchen of NASA said in a statement. "Like every exploration mission before, our rover is going to face challenges, and it's going to make amazing discoveries."
Two years ago, Alexander would have been more interested in video games than learning about space, he told NASA After a visit to Space Camp in Alabama, he became fascinated by astronauts and rockets.
His newfound passion led him to enter the essay contest.
The Mars rover is undergoing final assembly at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Alexander and his family were invited to see the launch, which is scheduled for later this year.