Appeal to name Mars rover launched by UK Space Agency - and it won't be 'Rovey McRoveface'

Samuel Osborne

The UK Space Agency has launched a competition to find a catchy name for the European rover going to Mars in 2020.

The agency is looking to find the best name for the ExoMars Rover, a key UK contribution to the European Space Agency’s Mars voyage.

But the rover is unlikely to be named “Rovey McRoveface” if the poll is hijacked online because a panel of judges will decide the final name.

Participants can enter the competition to name the rover on the Airbus website.

Although the winner won’t get a trip to Mars, they will have the chance to take three guests on a tour of the Airbus facility in Stevenage, where the rover is being built.

The ExoMars Rover is a six-wheeled robot which will travel across the surface of the Red Planet to find out how it has changed and search for conditions for life.

The ‘Mars Yard Test Area’, where robotic vehicles of the European Space Agency’s ExoMars program are tested in Stevenage (AP)

The contest is open to residents of countries belonging to the European Space Agency, including associate nations such as Canada.

Last weekend Sir David Attenborough launched the polar research ship that bears his name, calling it the “greatest possible honour”.

But it was not the most popular name in an online poll. Famously, social media users voted in their thousands for the name “Boaty Mc Boatface” after a radio DJ jokingly suggested it two years ago.