NASA is highlighting the Navajo language with its newest Mars mission.
After touchdown efficiently on the Purple Planet Feb. 18, NASA’s Perseverance rover is exploring, focusing its sights on a rock named “Máaz,” the Navajo phrase for “Mars.” The staff behind the rover is in collaboration with the Navajo Nation Workplace of the President and Vice President, and collectively they’ve been naming completely different options on the Martian floor utilizing phrases within the Navajo language.
Mission scientists at NASA labored with Navajo (or Diné) staff member Aaron Yazzie, an engineer for NASA’s Mars 2020 mission on the company’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California to hunt the Navajo Nation’s permission and collaboration to call these options. (Yazzie constructed the drill bits that the rover will use to gather samples on the planet.) Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Vice President Myron Lizer and their advisors created an inventory of Navajo language phrases that the groups at NASA would be capable of use for the mission.
“The partnership that the Nez-Lizer Administration has constructed with NASA will assist to revitalize our Navajo language,” President Nez stated in a NASA assertion. “We hope that having our language used within the Perseverance mission will encourage extra of our younger Navajo individuals to grasp the significance and the importance of studying our language. Our phrases have been used to assist win World Battle II, and now we’re serving to to navigate and study extra in regards to the planet Mars.”
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By assigning names to native landmarks on Mars, it makes it simpler for the mission staff members to check with options like rocks and soils. Whereas the planetary options have formal names given by the Worldwide Astronomical Union, these casual names are utilized by the staff.
“This fateful touchdown on Mars has created a particular alternative to encourage Navajo youth not simply by way of superb scientific and engineering feats, but additionally by way of the inclusion of our language in such a significant method,” Yazzie stated within the NASA assertion.
The Navajo Nation staff offered the rover staff with an inventory of fifty phrases that they may use to start out with and can work collectively on extra names because the rover explores extra. This record contains names like “Máaz” and “tséwózí bee hazhmeezh” (which implies “rolling rows of pebbles, like waves”), “bidziil” (which implies “power”) and “hoł nilį́” (which implies “respect”). The Navajo Nation staff even included the Navajo language phrase for “Perseverance” which interprets to “Ha’ahóni.”
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The rover was set to land in certainly one of many quadrangles mapped out on a grid in Jezero Crater, with every “quad” measuring about 1 sq. mile (1.5 sq. kilometers) in measurement. They named these quads after pure areas on Earth with comparable geological options, and Perseverance ended up touching down within the quad named after Arizona’s Canyon de Chelly Nationwide Monument, or Tséyi within the Navajo language, which is within the coronary heart of the Navajo Nation.
Now, for Perseverance to determine these options within the Navajo language, it has to study the language. Nevertheless, the restrictions of the English language aren’t in a position to totally specific the intonation and accents within the Navajo phrases, so the staff is working to give you translations that higher symbolize Navajo spellings. Within the meantime, they’re utilizing English letters to symbolize the Navajo phrases. Mission scientists and staff members are additionally taking this chance to study Navajo phrases.
“This partnership is encouraging the rover’s science staff to be extra considerate in regards to the names being thought of for options on Mars — what they imply each geologically and to individuals on Earth,” Perseverance Deputy Challenge Scientist Katie Stack Morgan of JPL stated in the identical assertion.
Area.com spoke with Yazzie at JPL on Feb. 18 instantly following the profitable touchdown of the rover, which is able to seek for indicators of historic life on Mars. “We’re so excited, I’m so relieved, that is such a terrific day,” Yazzie informed Area.com.
“It feels unreal and it’s unreal to be a part of such a historic [mission]” Yazzie added. “It looks like we’re contributing data to the entire world on behalf of humanity. The chance that we would discover historic microbial life on Mars, [it] could be an enormous discovery and I am so excited that I actually have a small half in that discovery.”
“We’re very happy with certainly one of our very personal, Aaron Yazzie, who’s enjoying a significant function in NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance Mission,” President Nez stated. “We’re excited for the NASA staff and for Aaron and we see him as being a terrific function mannequin who will encourage extra curiosity within the STEM fields of examine and hopefully encourage extra of our younger individuals to pursue STEM careers to make even better impacts and contributions simply as Aaron is doing. Because the mission continues, we provide our prayers for continued success.”
Electronic mail Chelsea Gohd at firstname.lastname@example.org or comply with her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Observe us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Fb.