NASA Provides “Spirit” and “Opportunity” for Mars

As the launch time for NASA’s first Mars Exploration Rover ticked closer on Sunday morning, NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe introduced a nine-year-old girl to journalists seated 11 miles from the launch pad. The Arizona third-grader, named Sofi Collis, had written to the space agency to suggest it name the twin Mars rovers “Spirit” and “Opportunity.” NASA thought it was a great idea. Collis, who was born in Siberia and adopted by a U.S. woman, described her choice of names in a short essay. “I used to live in an orphanage,” she wrote. “It was dark and cold and lonely. At night, I looked up at the sparkly sky and felt better. I dreamed I could fly there. In America, I can make all my dreams come true. Thank you for the ‘Spirit’ and the ‘Opportunity.'”