Moments earlier than the age-old Rolling Stones started acting at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl Stadium on Thursday, actor Robert Downey Jr. inexplicably took to the stage and introduced that the band was now the namesake of a rock on Mars.
When NASA’s InSight lander touched down on Mars again in November, its thrusters evidently displaced a rock, which subsequently rolled about three toes inside view of the spacecraft’s onboard cameras. NASA had by no means seen a rock journey that far when touchdown on one other planet. The occasion was confirmed after InSight took photos the following day, and that “a number of divots within the orange-red soil might be seen trailing Rolling Stones Rock,” in keeping with a press launch.
Whereas introducing the Rolling Stones onstage, Downey, Jr. briefly talked about “two epic launches” that occurred in 1964: the discharge of the primary Rolling Stones album, and the launch of the primary flyby satellite tv for pc to Mars, Mariner 4. He then praised NASA for its most up-to-date mission to Mars, citing the motion of the rock and proclaiming that scientists at NASA’s Pasadena-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “in a match of fandom and intelligent affiliation,” determined to name it Rolling Stones Rock.
Downey continued to elucidate that the band members weren’t against the thought of the Martian rock being named after them, however that they primarily wished the gang’s approval. The viewers collectively obliged with resounding cheers and now this small Mars-based rock, which is seemingly no larger than a golf ball, is known as after the band—identical to that.
“The identify Rolling Stones Rock is an ideal match,” Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division in Washington, stated within the launch. “A part of NASA’s constitution is to share our work with completely different audiences. After we discovered the Stones could be in Pasadena, honoring them appeared like a enjoyable option to attain followers all around the world.”
Solely the Worldwide Astronomical Union can designate scientific names for objects within the photo voltaic system, which signifies that the identify Rolling Stones Rock stays unofficial and casual, although it would nonetheless have that designation on working maps of Mars.