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Adopted Russian Girl Wins Competition to Name Mars Rovers


The latest U.S. mission to Mars, carries the "Spirit," the first of two rovers that will explore the planet's surface. The rovers were named by a third grader, adopted from Russia by an American family.

Officials at the U.S. space agency, NASA, held a contest to name the rover which will be scouring the surface of Mars for signs of life. Out of 10,000 entries from children across the United States and its territories, the winner was Sophie Collins, an orphan from Siberia adopted by an American family.

"I used to live in the orphanage," she said. "It was dark and cold and lonely. At night, I looked up at the sparkly sky. I felt better. I dreamed I could fly there. In America, I can make all my dreams come true. Thank you for the 'Spirt' and the 'Opportunity.'"

"Opportunity" is Sophie's name for the other American Mars rover, scheduled to launch June 25. The "Spirit" and the "Opportunity" will touch down on opposite sides of the planet, looking for water, which could sustain some form of life.

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