While recently on Mars for their InSight mission, NASA scientists witnessed some never-before-observed rock activity, prompting them to name the rock in question after legendary band, The Rolling Stones.
As their InSight spacecraft touched down on the planet last November, a rock was propelled about one meter in distance, making it the furthest NASA has ever seen a rock roll whilst landing a spacecraft on another planet. NASA scientists decided to name the rock “Rolling Stones Rock,” in a decision characteristic of their infallible logic.
NASA scientists have named a rock on the surface of Mars after The Rolling Stones, making them the first band to have an outer space rock named after them.
In a statement released on their website, NASA describes:
“For decades, the music of The Rolling Stones has had a global reach here on Earth. Now, the band’s influence extends all the way to Mars. The team behind NASA’s InSight lander has named a Martian rock after the band: ‘Rolling Stones Rock.'”
NASA tweeted the band, which included a video of the rock in all its rocky glory:
Hello “@RollingStones Rock” Who could hang a name on you? Um… us!
When @NASAInsight touched down on the Red Planet, its engines sent a rock rolling across Mars’ surface. We named it for the band. Take a closer look and learn how #MarsRocks get named: https://t.co/xY0TfoksJP pic.twitter.com/BZlABAMaZJ
— NASA (@NASA) August 23, 2019
For reasons which will remain unknown, the announcement was made by actor Robert Downey Jr. before the band’s Pasadena show at Rose Bowl Stadium.
The Rolling Stones responded by aptly calling it a “milestone in their long and eventful history” and giving a “huge thank you to everyone at NASA for making it happen.”
Unfortunately, official scientific names for places and objects in the solar system can only be chosen by the International Astronomical Union, however, NASA scientists often give unofficial nicknames to geological features. Nevertheless, the name will appear on working, informal maps of Mars, and is sure to become the most famous of all their nicknames.
InSight is an outer space robotic explorer designed to give Mars its first thorough check-up since its formation 4.5 billion years ago. It aims to answer vital questions about the formation of Mars and other planets in our solar system, whilst measuring any tectonic activity that occurs on the planet today.
You can watch Robert Downey Jr. making the announcement below: