What Should We Name NASA’s New Mars Rover?
- 3:22 PM
- Categories: Space
With the monumental success of NASA’s Curiosity rover, the agency recently decided to build a younger sibling for the probe out of spare parts.
During a surprise press conference on Dec. 4, NASA associate administrator of science John Grunsfeld announced plans for the new rover that will launch to Mars in 2020. Some in the scientific community reacted by wondering if NASA was completely addicted to Mars, blind to the fact that there are other planets in the solar system. But most are firmly behind the new rover, with folks already rallying around the idea that it will take the first step in a long-held dream of the planetary science community, a Mars sample-return mission.
The public reaction ranged from excitement (“Awesome, another rover!”) to jaded indifference (“Big whoop, another rover.”). Twitter had a field day coming up with silly names for the as-yet nameless rover, many of which were collected under the hashtag #newmarsrovernames. While NASA will no doubt sponsor a contest for young students to christen the probe, that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun in the meantime.
Here we’ve collected some of the best online responses to NASA’s big announcement. Take a look and vote on which one you think is best below.
Just about everyone and their robot dog suggested a pun, with the number one choice being “Red” as in “Red Rover.” On the other hand, Curiosity is getting a little brother, so what could be more appropriate than Brover? Several folks wanted NASA to embrace the robot’s freedom of sexual expression with the name Bi-Curiosity. And a good number of names played off the idea of curiosity and its feline-murdering ways with The Cat.
Many humorous suggestions centered on the fact that the new rover would be very similar to the old one, with names like Mimicry, Accompany, Supplantation, I’m Curious Too, and the mouthful Revor, Son of Rover, Picker-upper-er of Dirt and Hopefully Other Stuff.
Our favorite online Curiosity doppelganger @SarcasticRover led the charge on curmudgeonly names, writing “How about “Apathy” – young people love that, right?” on Twitter shortly after the announcement.
A great number of the public seemed to favor Redundancy, though Mediocrity, Indifference, and Superfluous made appearances on the internet as well. One Twitter user best summed up these folks, suggesting we call the new rover Meh.
You can always count on space geeks to be geeky. We got a few mentions of Sagan for the scientist fanboys out there and Serenity for the Joss Whedon acolytes. Stephen Colbert also got a mention with Colbert Rides Again, a possible reference to the man’s namesake treadmill on the International Space Station.
Not all suggestions centered on fun and games. The new rover is expected to be just as popular and inspirational as the last and at least one Twitter user threw down a list of beautiful names such as Serendipity, Vitality, Veracity, Agility, Infinity, Audacity, and Tenacity.