CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA's next Mars rover finally has a name: Perseverance.
The six-wheeled robotic explorer will blast off to Mars in July and collect samples for eventual return to Earth.
The name was suggested by Alex Mather, a Virginia seventh-grader, as part of a naming contest for U.S. schoolchildren.
The U.S. space agency announced it Thursday at Alex's school in Burke, Virginia, and he got to read his winning essay live on NASA TV.
Schoolchildren around the country submitted more than 28,000 essays last year.
The rover is undergoing final preparations at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.