Kansas girl names 'Curiosity,' NASA's new Mars rover

Kansas City StarMay 27, 2009 

When the new Mars rover blasts off for the red planet later this year, the launch will carry special significance for a 12-year-old Lenexa girl.

The name it will bear — "Curiosity" — was provided by Clara Ma, a sixth-grader at Sunflower Elementary School.

She was among 9,000 students nationally who submitted essays to NASA suggesting a name for the rover. NASA announced today that Clara had won at a special assembly at the Lenexa school.

Her prize will be a trip to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., to sign her name directly on the rover as it is being assembled.

"Many of the nominating essays were excellent, and several of the names would have fit well," said Mark Dahl, the mission’s program executive at NASA in Washington. "I am especially pleased with the choice, which recognizes something universally human and essential to science."

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