Clara Ma names Mars Science Laboratory rover "Curiosity"

Twelve-year-old Clara Ma from the Sunflower Elementary school in Lenexa, KS submitted the winning entry to name NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover. The sixth-grade student named the rover “Curiosity”. A NASA panel selected the name following a nationwide student contest that attracted more than 9,000 proposals via the Internet and mail. The panel primarily took into account the quality of submitted essays. The “Curiosity” rover is scheduled for launch in 2011. (kinda reminds us of Grace Moon wins Doodle 4 Google winner last year)

The following is the essay written by Clara Ma, winner of the Mars Science Laboratory naming contest. Twelve-year-old Ma submitted the winning entry, “Curiosity.”

Curiosity is an everlasting flame that burns in everyone’s mind. It makes me get out of bed in the morning and wonder what surprises life will throw at me that day. Curiosity is such a powerful force. Without it, we wouldn’t be who we are today. When I was younger, I wondered, ‘Why is the sky blue?’, ‘Why do the stars twinkle?’, ‘Why am I me?’, and I still do. I had so many questions, and America is the place where I want to find my answers. Curiosity is the passion that drives us through our everyday lives. We have become explorers and scientists with our need to ask questions and to wonder. Sure, there are many risks and dangers, but despite that, we still continue to wonder and dream and create and hope. We have discovered so much about the world, but still so little. We will never know everything there is to know, but with our burning curiosity, we have learned so much.

As her prize, Clara Ma flew from Kansas to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to meet and sign the next rover that will zoom millions of miles to Mars. She also got a VIP tour of JPL, along with her parents and sister. Inside the building where Curiosity is being assembled, Clara donned a “bunny suit” to step into the clean room and sign her name on the rover. Clara and her family also visited the Mars Yard, where future generations of rovers are tested.

Mars Science Laboratory rover “Curiosity”

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