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Want to name the next European Mars Rover? Here is your chance

The European Space Agency (ESA) sends a rover to Mars and wants you to name it.

The six-wheeled robot, currently called ExoMars, is being built at the Airbus plant in Stevenage, England. Once it's done, it will be off to our neighbor planet in 2020 to look for signs of past or present life. When it lands in 2021, the rover will explore the surface for traces of microbial life. There is even a drill to extend this search up to 2 meters underground.

In search of an inspirational name, astronaut Tim Peake has launched a campaign to encourage citizens of ESA member states (including associates such as Canada) to submit proposals online via this Airbus website. A complete explanation of the qualification criteria can be found in the general terms and conditions of the competition.

"I am often asked," Is there a life beyond the earth? "It's a very basic question this Rover will be trying to answer," said Peake BBC News.

Dr. David Parker, director of human spaceflight and robotics at the European Space Agency, added that the ESA usually mentions its missions after famous scientists, but this time they could opt for something more intangible, such as the American Mars rovers Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity

"Maybe this time around, we'll be dealing with a name related to the search for life ̵

1; biology, genetics, DNA, whatever," Parker told the BBC. "Who knows, we just want a great name."

The Rover is the second part of the European ExoMars project – the first is a satellite orbiting the Red Planet and observing its atmosphere.

The name search that Peake launched at Farnborough The International Air Show last Friday is open October 10, 2018 through 23:59 BST. Once closed, a panel of UK Space Agency experts will read submissions and select the winner. The winner of the entry will receive a tour of the Airbus factory where the rover will be built.

According to competition rules, names can be a single word, a short word combination, or an acronym. The name may not match a past or current space mission. If it is the name of a person, that person must have died before October 10, 1993. Each submission must be accompanied by a brief explanation of the name choice and carefully select your submission, as each participant receives only one.

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