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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

(Re)Name NASA's Next Martian Rover

By Alexis Madrigal Email
From Wired Magazine Blog


With the recent detection of seasonal Martian methane emissions — which microbes could be generating or eating, NASA's next robotic mission to the planet could become the most exciting unmanned mission in the history of the agency by discovering definitive evidence of extraterrestrial life.

Which is exactly why the rover carrying out the mission needs a new name. Even NASA knows: they are holding a a kid-centric naming contest sponsored by Wall-E to replace the current snappy moniker, the Mars Science Laboratory.

Call us homers, but we have more faith in Wired Science readers than we do in your little cousins to come up with the type of awe-inducing name that will fit the next-gen rover, which launches in fall 2011. After all, you did an inspiring job with the Mars Phoenix Twitter epitaph contest. So, we're introducing another Reddit widget below for you to go wild with. You can submit your own name and vote on others through January 26.

We can't promise that NASA will have anything to do with our official nickname, but we will link it from our future stories on the rover.