Crossroads Fourth Grader May Name the Next Mars Rover
Malvika Ganapathy is a semifinalist in NASA competition.
Earlier this year, Elementary School science teachers Sasha Moore and Andy Putnam shared an exciting opportunity with their students: to name NASA’s Mars 2020 rover. Fourth grader Malvika Ganapathy took on the challenge and entered the competition, suggesting the name Revelar. On Jan. 13, Malvika learned she was one of 155 students across the U.S. chosen as semifinalists from among 28,000 submissions. (See the moment she got the good news here!) In her submission essay, she explained the reasoning behind the name Revelar:
Mars, the red planet. Many secrets waiting to be revealed and some we may never find. This mission is going to try things never done before. It will be amazing if the oxygen producing method works—it is as if the Rover will be planting the first tree on Mars! By drilling into the surface and collecting samples, we may find evidence of past life and learn about how humans could live on Mars in the future. Therefore, the name I have chosen for the rover is “Revelar.” Revelar in Spanish (and in Latin where it is spelled revelare) means to reveal or uncover. This mission could reveal much more about how life originated in other parts of the solar system. By studying the climate patterns on Mars, we could understand how to protect Earth from climate change. I believe Revelar can help us learn all of this.
The next phases of judging will reduce the competition to nine finalists. The public can vote for their favorite name in late January; the poll results will be considered in the final naming selection. The grand prize winner—announced in early March—will be invited to see the spacecraft launch in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
On Monday, Sasha announced Malvika’s achievement over the Elementary School intercom system; classrooms broke out into exuberant cheers and applause.
“It feels amazing to be a semifinalist,” shares Malvika. “It is such an honor. To get to this point feels wonderful! I have had so much fun learning about Mars, the NASA mission and then writing the essay. I want to keep learning more about Mars.”