A small rock spotted by NASA tumbling on the surface of Mars last year is now officially the namesake of the legendary band Rolling Stones.
“NASA has given us something we have always dreamed of, our very own rock on Mars. I can’t believe it,” Mick Jagger told the crowd on Thursday during a performance at the Rose Bowl. ″I want to bring it back and put it on our mantelpiece.”
Hello “@RollingStones Rock” Who could hang a name on you? Um... us!— NASA (@NASA) August 23, 2019
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
Actor Robert Downey Jr. unveiled the honor from the scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory just before the band’s performance in Southern California.
“Charlie, Ronnie, Keith and Mick — they were in no way opposed to the notion,” Downey said, “but in typical egalitarian fashion, they suggested I assist in procuring 60,000 votes to make it official, so that’s my mission,” asking the audience to say "aye" to confirm the new name of "Rolling Stones Rock."
The most ambitious crossover announcement in space?@NASAInSight just named "@RollingStones Rock" on Mars in honor of the band. Watch @RobertDowneyJr announce the @NASA news live on stage at the Rose Bowl ahead of tonight's concert. https://t.co/868Gbervw1 #MarsRocks pic.twitter.com/xETMzS0H9y— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) August 23, 2019
The rock, roughly the size of a golf ball, was spotted by NASA’s InSight robotic lander in November, The Associated Press reported.
It didn’t go far — only moving about 3 feet — but that was the farthest a rock was seen rolling after one of the agency’s devices landed on another planet.
“I’ve seen a lot of Mars rocks over my career,” Matt Golombek, a JPL geologist who helps NASA land Mars missions, said in a statement to AP. “This one probably won’t be in a lot of scientific papers, but it’s definitely one of the coolest.”
The Martian rock, as with the rest of the planet, has gathered no moss.