Knowing About Curiosity
The Curiosity Mars rover was named by an 11-year-old girl in Lenexa, Kansas, USA. Her name is Clara Ma and below is her inspiring story.
On Aug. 5 at 10:31 p.m. PST, a rover named Curiosity touched down safely on the surface of Mars, and I was lucky enough to have a front-row seat.
My name is Clara, and when I was in 6th grade, I won the essay contest NASA held to name its next Mars rover. The essay I wrote was not even 250 words long, but somehow it was enough to change my life.
I still remember that chilly December day, sitting in science class. I'd finished a worksheet early and decided to get a TIME for Kids magazine off of Mrs Estevez's bookshelf. It was the 2008 Invention Issue, but that wasn't the only thing that caught my eye. In the magazine, there was an article about a girl who named the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.
The article also talked about the essay contest NASA was holding to name its next Mars rover. Before I even knew anything else about it, a single word flooded my 11-year-old mind: Curiosity.
I couldn't wait for the bell to ring so I could get started on my essay. That afternoon, I raced home from the bus stop, sat down at the computer, and typed until my fingers ached. It turns out I was just in time. A few days later, and the contest would have closed.
Five months later, shortly after I had turned 12, I was watching a National Geographic special on mammoths when the phone rang. My mom answered, and immediately, a wide smile spread across her face.
When she told me that I had won, I was happier than I could ever remember being. I screamed and ran up and down the stairs and all around the house. I completely forgot about the mammoths and did not even remember to turn off the TV until it was really late.