Moments ahead of the age-old Rolling Stones started performing at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl Stadium on Thursday, actor Robert Downey Jr. inexplicably took to the stage and announced that the band was now the namesake of a rock on Mars.
When NASA’s InSight lander touched down on Mars back in November, its thrusters evidently displaced a rock, which subsequently rolled about 3 feet inside view of the spacecraft’s onboard cameras. NASA had in no way observed a rock travel that far when landing on yet another planet. The occasion was confirmed immediately after InSight took photos the subsequent day, and that “several divots in the orange-red soil can be observed trailing Rolling Stones Rock,” according to a press release.
Though introducing the Rolling Stones onstage, Downey, Jr. briefly described “two epic launches” that occurred in 1964: the release of the 1st Rolling Stones album, and the launch of the 1st flyby satellite to Mars, Mariner four. He then praised NASA for its most current mission to Mars, citing the movement of the rock and proclaiming that scientists at NASA’s Pasadena-primarily based Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “in a match of fandom and clever association,” decided to contact it Rolling Stones Rock.
Downey continued to clarify that the band members have been not opposed to the thought of the Martian rock becoming named immediately after them, but that they basically wanted the crowd’s approval. The audience collectively obliged with resounding cheers and now this tiny Mars-primarily based rock, which is apparently no larger than a golf ball, is named immediately after the band—just like that.
“The name Rolling Stones Rock is a best match,” Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division in Washington, mentioned in the release. “Part of NASA’s charter is to share our perform with distinctive audiences. When we identified out the Stones would be in Pasadena, honoring them seemed like a exciting way to attain fans all more than the planet.”
Only the International Astronomical Union can designate scientific names for objects in the solar technique, which suggests that the name Rolling Stones Rock remains unofficial and informal, although it will nonetheless have that designation on functioning maps of Mars.