“Curiosity is an everlasting flame that burns in everyone’s mind. It makes me get out of bed in the morning and wonder what surprises life will throw at me that day.”
These words from an essay by middle-school student Clara Ma of Lenexa, Kansas, won a naming contest sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Mars Science Laboratory. With her win, the space agency gave the name “Curiosity” to its latest emissary from Earth to Mars.
Launched in November 2011, aboard an Atlas V booster, Curiosity will touch down on Mars on August 5 for a minimum of two years of roving the Martian landscape. When it touches down, Ma, pictured, will be closely watching at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
“We will never know everything there is to know, but with our burning curiosity, we have learned so much,” Ma wrote at the conclusion of her essay.