The Rolling Stones have had a rock on Mars named after them by NASA.
The team behind NASA’s InSight lander are responsible for the honour after they named a Martian rock ‘Rolling Stones Rock’ after the long-running band. The rock itself is a little larger than a golf ball, and became an area of focus for NASA after it appeared to roll three feet following the touchdown of the InSight spacecraft back in November — the farthest NASA has seen a rock roll while landing a spacecraft on another planet.
The Stones expressed their gratitude to NASA for naming the rock after them. “What a wonderful way to celebrate the ‘Stones No Filter’ tour arriving in Pasadena,” the band said in a statement. “This is definitely a milestone in our long and eventful history. A huge thank you to everyone at NASA for making it happen.”
“The name Rolling Stones Rock is a perfect fit,” Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division in Washington, said. “Part of NASA’s charter is to share our work with different audiences. When we found out the Stones would be in Pasadena, honouring them seemed like a fun way to reach fans all over the world.”
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory geologist Matt Golombek added: “I’ve seen a lot of Mars rocks over my career. This one probably won’t be in a lot of scientific papers, but it’s definitely one of the coolest.”
Robert Downey Jr. first made the announcement about the ‘Rolling Stones Rock’ before the band’s gig at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena last night (August 22).
“Cross-pollinating science and a legendary rock band is always a good thing,” the actor remarked to NASA before the announcement — you can watch footage of his subsequent on-stage speech in the above video.
Earlier this month, The Rolling Stones performed their cover of ‘Harlem Shuffle’ live for the first time in almost 30 years.