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Westwood Girl Selected As Finalist In NASA's Mars Rover Naming Contest

WASHINGTON (CBS) - An elementary school student from Westwood could end up naming the next Mars rover. Amira Shanshiry was picked as a finalist in an essay contest run by NASA.

Amira is a fourth grader at Hanlon Elementary in Westwood, and one of three nationwide finalists in the Kindergarten through fourth grade age bracket. Her name of choice for the Mars rover is 'Promise'.

"The Mars rover promises to bring to light major discoveries about life on Mars," she wrote in part. "Moreover, the rover will help astronauts land on Mars. As the rover keeps its promise, Americans will unite and bond over the success of its space adventures."

"Amira is a bright and dedicated student," said Sarah Cronin, Amira's principal. "We are proud and excited to see what her future holds."

Mars 2020 rover
At NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, engineers observed the first driving test for NASA's Mars 2020 rover on Dec. 17, 2019. (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Other names in the final running are Endurance, Tenacity, Perseverance, Vision, Clarity, Ingenuity, Fortitude, and Courage.

"Thousands of students have shared their ideas for a name that will do our rover and the team proud," said Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division.

Now the public gets to vote for their favorite name as part of the ultimate selection process. Online voting runs through January 27 at

Amira and the other finalists will also talk over their rover names with a panel that includes NASA astronauts.

The winner will be announced in March, and will be invited to watch the rover launch from Cape Canaveral in July.

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