Cub Scout one of nine finalists to name the 2020 Mars rover, but he needs your vote

Eamon and an image of the Mars rover

A 10-year-old Webelos Scout from Pennsylvania is one of nine finalists in NASA’s contest to name the 2020 Mars rover, and your vote can help send the young man’s name to the red planet.

Eamon Reilly, a member of Pack 67 from Dover, Pa., (New Birth of Freedom Council) was one of 28,000 students who sent in essays hoping to name the 2020 Mars rover, which could launch as early as July 17.

Only nine essays — each 150 words or less — were selected as finalists. In Eamon’s essay, the fourth grader explained why he chose the name Tenacity.

“It means that you never give up,” Eamon writes. “Scientists are tenacious. It is what keeps them thinking and experimenting. … If they didn’t have tenacity, Mars rovers wouldn’t be a thing.”

When coming up with the idea, Eamon says he looked at past names for Mars rovers: Sojourner, Opportunity, Spirit and Curiosity. He initially thought of the word “perseverance,” which he remembered from an old school motto. But he settled on a synonym: Tenacity.

“Tenacity also means that you overcome obstacles without giving up, like the scientists did when they built and programmed it,” Eamon writes. “If the rover is named Tenacity it will inspire kids like me to be tenacious, too!”

The naming contest

If you’d like to see the Tenacity rover rolling around the Jezero Crater on Mars in 2021, be sure to vote for Eamon’s name. But don’t delay; vote today. The poll closes at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Jan. 27, 2020.

“It makes me feel really good,” Eamon says, “because my name for the Rover has been picked out of lots and lots of other great names.”

All nine finalists will get to discuss their submissions with a panel that includes Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division; NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins; NASA-JPL rover driver Nick Wiltsie; and Clara Ma, who named the Curiosity rover as a sixth grade student in 2009.

NASA will announce the final name for the 2020 Mars rover in March. The winning student will fly to see the spacecraft carrying the rover launch in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Space and Scouting

Eamon has always loved space and science, and Cub Scouts has helped him expand that passion through hands-on activities.

Eamon has visited the Lancaster (Pa.) Science Factory with his den, worked on STEM Nova awards and visited the local planetarium to earn the Sky is the Limit Adventure loop.

“Eamon had been fascinated with space and space exploration from an early age,” says his mom, Beth Reilly. “He also loves to build things, and his standard ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ answer is an engineer.”

“He loves to build model robots,” says his dad, Dan Reilly, “and the Mars rover is just about the coolest robot anyone can imagine.”

Be sure to vote for Tenacity today!


Thanks to Ron Gardner Jr., Scout Executive of the New Birth of Freedom Council, for the tip!

About Bryan Wendell 3043 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.