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NASA names Martian rock after The Rolling Stones

Mick Jagger and Rolling Stones Rock © Getty & NASA/JPL-Caltech

57 years into their glittering career, The Rolling Stones have been bestowed with the ultimate honour – yes, a rock on Mars has been named after them.

Back on 26th November 2018, NASA's InSight spacecraft touched down on Mars and sent a small rock, sized slightly bigger than a golf ball, flying a metre across the barren red surface of the planet.

NASA aptly dubbed rock in question the ‘Rolling Stones Rock’, as they explain: “Scientists working with NASA's Mars rovers have given lots of unofficial nicknames to rocks and other geological features.

“Doing so makes it easier for them to discuss different objects and refer to them in science papers. So, while the name Rolling Stones Rock is informal, it will appear on working maps of the Red Planet.”


Geologist Matt Golombek, from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, enthuses: "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."

Hollywood actor Robert Downey Jr. took to the stage before The Rolling Stones’ show at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California last night (22nd August) to officially reveal the rock’s name to the public.

 

The 92,542-capacity stadium, which hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup Final, is just a stone’s throw away from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Mick Jagger later told the audience during the band’s set: “NASA has given us something we have always dreamed of, our very own rock on Mars. I can’t believe it… I want to bring it back on put it on our mantelpiece.”

NASA is using its robotic missions to Mars to help prepare for eventual human exploration of the Red Planet.


Rolling Stones Rock on Mars (centre-ish) © NASA/JPL-Caltech

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