Navajo Nation Works with NASA Perseverance Rover to Name Features on Mars

Navajo Nation Office of President and Vice President - Courtesy Navajo Nation

NASA Perseverance rover team is working with the Navajo Nation to name features on Mars with words from the Navajo language.

“Maaz” is the first scientific focus of NASA’s Perseverance rover and not surprisingly, it is the Navajo word for “Mars.”

The rover’s team has been collaborating with the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President on the project.

This rock, called “Máaz” (the Navajo word for “Mars”), is the first feature of scientific interest to be studied by NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover - NASA/JPL-Caltech image
This rock, called “Máaz” (the Navajo word for “Mars”), is the first feature of scientific interest to be studied by NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover – NASA/JPL-Caltech image

Nicknames are assigned to landmarks to provide the thousands of mission team members a common way to refer to rocks, soils, and other geologic features of interest.

Previous rover teams have named features after regions of geologic interest on Earth as well as people and places related to expeditions. Although the International Astronomical Union designates official names for planetary features, these informal names are used as reference points by the team.

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