The Navajo Nation is getting honored as NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover team continues to name new features in the Navajo language as the Perseverance sails through the surface of Mars, according to a published report.
The rover team has now named a rock, the first scientific focus of the rover, “Máaz,” the Navajo word for “Mars.” Working with the Navajo Nation, the team will continue naming new features in the Navajo language, NASA said in a statement Thursday.
On February 18, Perseverance landed on the surface of the red planet and has sent back some 7,000 images, moved its seven-foot-long robot arm, undergone a post-landing software upgrade and taken a short test drive. It is just the beginning of its long journey to hunt for signs of ancient life, CBS News reported.
As it continues on its journey, additional names the Perseverance team has come up with for future discoveries include:
“Tséwózí bee hazhmeezh,” which means “Rolling rows of pebbles, like waves,”
“Bidziil,” which means “strength,”
“Hoł nilį́,” which means “respect,”
“Ha’ahóni,” meaning “perseverance,”
Aaron Yazzie, a Navajo engineer who works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is overseeing the collaboration between mission scientists and the Navajo Nation. Scientists on the team have been excited for the opportunity to learn Navajo words and their meaning, CBS reported
“This fateful landing on Mars has created a special opportunity to inspire Navajo youth not just through amazing scientific and engineering feats, but also through the inclusion of our language in such a meaningful way,” Yazzie said.