The European Space Agency is looking to launch a new Mars rover in 2020, and it has asked the public to help pick a memorable name for it.
Giving the collective masses of the internet the power to name something is never a great idea. Did the ESA forget how the public voted for a $300 million ocean research vessel to be called Boaty McBoatface?
ESA ExoMars Rover: What Will It Be Named?
The ExoMars rover is scheduled to launch in 2020. It will be heading toward the Red Planet, where it will carry out a mission to hunt for life once it lands there in March 2021.
The ExoMars name, however, is apparently not good enough. The ESA wants to giver the Mars rover a new name, and it has asked the public to help them choose one.
"Mars is a fascinating destination, a place where humans will one day work alongside robots to gather new knowledge and search for life in our solar system," said ESA astronaut Tim Peake in a statement. Peake announced the Mars rover naming contest at the Farnborough International Airshow in England.
"The ExoMars rover is a vital part of this journey of exploration and we are asking you to become part of this exciting mission and name the rover that will scout the martian surface," Peake added.
The ESA, however, has apparently learned from the case of Boaty McBoatface. The ExoMars rover will not be named Marsy McMarsface or Rovery McRoverface. According to its official page, the competition will be run by the ESA itself, with a panel to judge and make the decision on the rover's final name.
The winner of the contest will be given a tour of the Airbus facility in Stevenage, London where the Mars rover is being made. The winner will also have extreme bragging rights on naming something that will be remembered for generations to come.
Mars Rovers And Solar Power
The Mars rover of the ESA, whatever it ends up being called, will be equipped with solar panels to generate electricity and store power in batteries. The batteries will then be used during the cold nights on Mars to keep heater units running, prolonging the rover's stay.
Unfortunately, a Mars rover currently on the Red Planet, NASA's Opportunity, is in danger of being lost. This is because Opportunity is stuck in the middle of a massive dust storm, which has blocked out the sun for nearly two months now. It is unclear if Opportunity still has enough power in its batteries to wake up from hibernation once the storm ends.