Utah elementary student becomes semifinalist in NASA’s Mars “Name the Rover” competition

Utah elementary student becomes semifinalist in NASA’s Mars “Name the Rover” competition

A Utah elementary student is a semifinalist in NASA’s “Name the Rover” challenge.

Lanaya Allen, 9, presented an article disclosing her decision to name the Mars meanderer “Promise.”

“Promise has two meanings to it; one of the meanings is if you say you are going to do something you’ll do it, and the other meaning is hope and the mission of finding life on Mars shows lots of hope,” Allen said.

The call for names was put out by NASA in the fall. The challenge got almost 28,000 entries. The wanderer, like past ones, will scan for indications of past microbial life, characterize the planet’s climate and geology, gather samples and prepare for human investigation of the Red Planet.

Allen said her love for the solar system helped her pick her name.

“I’ve always really liked space and enjoy learning different things about planets,” she said. “Like for example, Mars has dust devils.”

Lanaya’s dad, Ryan Allen, said this challenge was made for his daughter.

“Even recently she’s been talking about how she wanted to perhaps help design rovers and I thought it can’t be more perfect,” he said.

Regardless of the result of the challenge, he trusts his daughter will be propelled by this experience.

“I hope this is a memory that will stay with her, that will continue to encourage her to always pursue her dreams, you know, always shoot for the stars,” he said.

Finalists will be declared toward the finish of January which is the point at which the public can decide on their top pick. The victor will be picked in March and the meanderer will launch into space with its new name this summer.

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