Indian-origin teenager names NASA’s first Mars Helicopter

Washington: Bound to make history as the first aircraft to attempt powered flight on another planet, NASA’s new mars helicopter now has a new name called “Ingenuity”. The credit goes to a 17-yr old Indian-origin girl Vaneeza Rupani.

Out of 28,000 entries, NASA chose Vaneeza Rupani’s submission of “Ingenuity” to name its Mars helicopter.

Rupani, who is a high school junior from Northport, Alabama, earned the honour of naming the helicopter when she submitted her essay into NASA’s “Name the Rover” contest.

While NASA had announced in March that its next rover would be named Perseverance based on the 7th grade Alexander Mather’s essay, the agency also decided to choose a name for the helicopter that will accompany the rover to Mars.

“Our Mars Helicopter has a new name! Meet: Ingenuity. Student Vaneeza Rupani came up with the name during our “name the rover” contest. Ingenuity will ride to the Red planet with @NasaPerseverance to attempt the first powered flight on another world,” NASA tweeted.

“The ingenuity and brilliance of people working hard to overcome the challenges of interplanetary travel are what allows us all to experience the wonders of space exploration”, Rupani wrote in her essay, according to a release by NASA.

Rupani has been always interested in space science since childhood. On their way to school everyday, she and her dad would pretend that they are in a spaceship. They would imagine seeing planets, stars, etc on their way and give them names, mother of Vaneeza Rupani, Nausheen Rupani told NASA.

“To have her submission selected was more than exciting. I thought ingenuity would be a good name for the helicopter because that is exactly what it took to design the machine”, Vaneeza told NASA. “The helicopter is an incredible project and I am thrilled to be part of this journey”.

According to NASA, “Ingenuity and Perseverance are scheduled to launch in July and land next February at Mars Jezero Crater, the site of a lake that existed 3.5 billion years ago. While the rover collects samples of Mars, the helicopter will attempt to fly and if successful, it will enable future Mars missions to add an aerial dimension to their explorations”.

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