Raena Martin, an eighth grade student at Nelson Academy, was one of 20 national winners of NASA’s “You’ve Got Perseverance!” campaign to receive a personalized message from the Perseverance rover on Mars.
The campaign encouraged educators and community leaders from across the country to nominate students in sixth through eighth grade who have shown character traits of perseverance during the pandemic. Martin was nominated by Nelson teachers Alicja Jasinska and Ronda Piepmeyer.
As part of her award, the winning student participated in a virtual conference call with NASA during which she viewed a video of an individualized text message sent from the Perseverance rover stationed about 200 million miles away on Mars. This marked the first time students have ever received personalized messages from a rover on another planet.
“Persistent focus, finding the way forward. Great job, Raena. Stay on that path!” read Raena’s personalized message from the rover on Mars.
During the call, the student winners learned more about the rover’s capability to send messages and were given a virtual tour of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California along with the opportunity to ask NASA engineers questions.
In honor of the accomplishment, Principal Kathleen Reed and Assistant Principal Tuan Nguyen organized a celebration party for Martin during the virtual conference call, allowing her to be joined by her family, close friends and former teachers as she spoke with NASA team members.