View Full Version : Girl with Dreams Names Mars Rovers 'Spirit' and 'Opportunity

2003-Jun-08, 08:19 PM

Girl with Dreams Names Mars Rovers 'Spirit' and 'Opportunity'
June 8, 2003

Twin robotic geologists NASA is sending to Mars will embody in their newly chosen names -- Spirit and Opportunity -- two cherished attributes that guide humans to explore.

NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe and 9-year-old Sofi Collis, who wrote the winning essay in a naming contest, unveiled the names this morning at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. "Now, thanks to Sofi Collis, our third grade explorer-to-be from Scottsdale, Ariz., we have names for the rovers that are extremely worthy of the bold mission they are about to undertake," O'Keefe said.

Sofi read her essay: "I used to live in an orphanage. It was dark and cold and lonely. At night, I looked up at the sparkly sky and felt better. I dreamed I could fly there. In America, I can make all my dreams come true. Thank you for the 'Spirit' and the 'Opportunity.'"

Hers was selected from nearly 10,000 entries in the contest sponsored by NASA and the Lego Co., a Denmark-based toymaker, with collaboration from the Planetary Society, Pasadena, Calif..

Collis was born in Siberia. At age two, she was adopted by Laurie Collis and brought to the United States. "She has in her heritage and upbringing the soul of two great spacefaring countries," O'Keefe said. "One of NASA's goals is to inspire the next generation of explorers. Sofi is a wonderful example of how that next generation also inspires us."

Collis' dream of flying now takes the form of wanting to become an astronaut. Meanwhile, she enjoys playing with her older sister, swimming, reading Harry Potter stories, and her family's three dogs and one cat.

Lego President Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, commenting on the naming contest, said, "The early days of space exploration stimulated the creativity of an entire generation, expanded our imagination and encouraged us to push our limits, making us better and braver human beings. With this project, the Lego Co. wants to bring part of that magic back. Everything we do is aimed at giving children that same power to create, and by involving children in the Name the Rovers Contest and other related playful learning activities, we hope to motivate and inspire the next generation of explorers."

Eleven miles from today’s naming ceremony, Spirit, formerly called Mars Exploration Rover A, waited for a launch opportunity on Monday at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Opportunity, the second twin in what is still named the Mars Exploration Rover project, is being prepared for its first launch opportunity on June 25.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for the NASA Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

Information about the rovers and the scientific instruments they carry is available online from JPL at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer and from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., at http://athena.cornell.edu. Information about the naming contest is available at http://www.nametherovers.org.


Contacts: Don Savage (202) 358-1727
NASA Headquarters, Washington D.C.

Guy Webster (321) 354-6278

George Diller (321) 867-2468
Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Teresa Martini (626) 205-4508
LEGO Company


2003-Jun-09, 09:04 AM
Hooray for girls with dreams. :D

2003-Jun-09, 12:26 PM
At least no one will be 'offended' by the names. :x

2003-Jun-09, 04:28 PM
At least no one will be 'offended' by the names. :x

We lazy slobs who spend all day Web-surfing have clearly been discriminated against. We demand that the next Mars probe be named "Couch Potato" as redress for this offense!

2003-Jun-10, 12:44 AM
'Troll-A' and 'Troll-B'????

Well? :wink:

Pluto is a planet
2003-Jun-10, 01:42 AM
Lets name them "Black Sabbath" and "Led Zeppelin".

David Hall
2003-Jun-10, 04:46 PM
Hey, I like the names. Sure they aren't as "cool" as some of the others, but they aren't bad. Can't always pick great names, especially if it's done through a public contest.

2003-Jun-10, 05:55 PM
We lazy slobs who spend all day Web-surfing have clearly been discriminated against. We demand that the next Mars probe be named "Couch Potato" as redress for this offense!

Hooray for couch potatoes in comas! :wink:

2003-Jun-10, 06:30 PM
I'm sitting here right now watching a grainy streaming video feed through a 56k connection. I guess 'Spirit' and 'Opportunity' aren't too bad, but I think 'Duff' and "Crisi-tunity' would've been better.