Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has welcomed two new additions to its bird family. “Mars” and “Rover,” blue penguin chicks, are only four weeks old, but they already mark an integral part of history.
Their names derive from NASA’s successful rover landing of Perseverance on Mars last week. The mission marks a new development for the space agency as the rover, unlike previous iterations, can capture images of the planet in color. According to NASA, Perseverance’s primary goal is to collect data related to “ancient microbial life” and will forward information into whether human exploration of the red planet will be possible in the future.
“We usually stick with food and car-themed names for this species, but yesterday’s spacecraft touchdown inspired us to break tradition,” Cincinnati Zoo bird team curator Jenny Gainer says in a news release. “Technically, Mars is a candy brand and Rover is a car, so they still sort of fit.”
Rover and Mars were introduced to the general public in a Facebook Live that showed the chicks in a bird house nursery. Right now, people can keep tabs on the new penguins as well as other animals by watching the zoo's home safari series via Facebook Live, which will continue until the end of this month.
In the spring, zoo visitors will be able to see Mars and Rover in person along with the rest of the little penguin colony in Roo Valley.
For more information, visit cincinnatiszoo.org.