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Navajo Language Translation That Is out of This World.

Many linguistic endeavors take place at universities, research facilities, classrooms and cultural centers, however, there is a fascinating and worthy linguistic endeavor happening now that is out of this world…literally.

In collaboration with the Navajo Nation, NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Mission is using the Navajo language to name landmarks of scientific interest discovered on its Mars mission.

The Mars Perseverance rover mission is long term program of robotic exploration on Mars.  It is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. The Mars Perseverance mission will include a range of science goals including attempting to answer questions about the potential for life on Mars. The mission will study habitable conditions on Mars and also search for signs of past microbial life.

The mission will also study and test technologies that could be used for future human expeditions to Mars. Technologies such as producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, finding subsurface water and detailed studies of weather, dust, and other environmental conditions that would impact future astronauts living and working on Mars.

In cooperation with, and thanks to the Navajo language, the first scientific focus of NASA’s Perseverance mission is a rock named “Máaz” – the Navajo word for “Mars.” The Mars surface mission will assign nicknames to landmarks in order to provide the mission’s team a common way to refer to rocks and other geologic features of interest on Mars.

Rock Named Maaz

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

According to The President of the Navajo Nation, Jonathan Nez, the partnership between NASA and the Navajo Nation will help to revitalize the Navajo language and inspire young Navajo people to continue to learn their language and be inspired to pursue careers in science and engineering.


To read the full article ‘NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Mission Honors Navajo Language