NASA Names Mars Helicopter After Essay Entry by High School Student

Vaneeza Rupani, a high school student from Alabama, has received the honor to name NASA's Mars helicopter, a small spacecraft that would support flight studies on the red planet.

She named the helicopter "Ingenuity" in her entry to an essay contest that originally sought what to call the next Mars rover, the space agency said Wednesday.

NASA received 2.8K entries to the Mars rover essay contest that was eventually won by Alexander Mather who coined the name "Perseverance."

The space agency then decided to look at the other entries for the helicopter's name.

"The ingenuity and brilliance of people working hard to overcome the challenges of interplanetary travel are what allow us all to experience the wonders of space exploration," Rupani stated in her contest entry.

The solar-powered helicopter will demonstrate flight on the red planet. NASA has already docked the helicopter to Perseverance.

"Ingenuity encapsulates the values that our helicopter tech demo will showcase for everyone when it takes off next year as the first aircraft on another planet's surface," said Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator, who selected Rupani's entry as the helicopter's name.

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