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Local student selected as semifinalist in competition to name Mars 2020 rover

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NASA/JPL-Caltech, Future Engineers
Kaitlyn Ketchell proposed the name 'Tenacity' for the 2020 Mars Rover.

MONUMENT, Colo. -- A local high school student has been selected as a semifinalist in NASA's "Name the Rover" competition, which aims to find an official name for the Mars 2020 rover.

Kaitlyn Ketchell, a 10th grader at Palmer Ridge High School in Monument, is one of 155 students across the U.S. chosen as semifinalists in the essay contest.

Ketchell has proposed the name "Tenacity."

"Tenacity would be a fitting name for the rover, as Mars is a very barren planet, and yet we are determined to try and colonize it," Ketchell wrote in her essay submission. "Along with Curiosity, the two rovers could represent some of the best aspects of humanity, inspiring future generations to explore for exploration’s sake."

Her submission was selected as Colorado's winner in the high school category, according to a press release from Battelle, one of the organizations chosen to conduct the contest.

The currently unnamed rover will search for signs of past microbial life on Mars, characterize the planet's climate and geology, collect samples for future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the planet, according to the release. The Mars 2020 rover is targeted for a July 2020 launch and is expected to touch down on Mars in February 2021.

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Suzie Ziegler

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