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  1. The Rover Naming Contest

    And that’s only the beginning! It’ll take about six months for each of the two Mars Exploration Rovers to reach the Red Planet, but if you’re the winner of the contest, the names you choose for the Rovers will be part of Space Exploration History forever!

    NASA announced this week a collaboration with the LEGO Company in this ‘Name the Rovers’ contest for America’s school kids. The Planetary Society will join LEGO in managing the contest. The robotic explorers, part of NASA’s upcoming Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission, will land at two different locations on the mysterious Red Planet and explore the surface in search of answers about the history of water on Mars.

    “We are very excited about providing students with an opportunity to actively participate in the next mission to Mars,” said Dave Lavery, Program Executive for Solar System Exploration at NASA Headquarters. “We are eagerly looking for some really creative and innovative ideas from the students as they compete to name the next Mars rovers and become part of history.”

    “The LEGO Company is dedicated to furthering hands-on discovery, playful learning, and the boundless frontiers of imagination. Space exploration also embraces these qualities, which is why the LEGO Company is so pleased to partner with NASA,” said Brad Justus, LEGO Senior Vice President. “By involving children actively in the Mars mission through the ‘Name the Rovers’ contest and with other related activities, we hope to help excite and inspire the next generation of space explorers, “ he said.

    The NASA “Name the Rovers” contest is open to students 5 to 18 years of age who attend a U.S. school and are enrolled in the Fall 2002 school season. Submissions must include suggested names for both rovers and a 50-500 word essay justifying why the students believe their names should be chosen. The contest has many educational benefits and encourages students to do research for their essays and to learn more about Mars and space exploration.

    The contest is open for submissions through January 31, 2003. NASA will announce the contest winners prior to launching the rovers in the spring of 2003. Click here for more information about the contest.