The team behind NASA’s InSight Mars lander has named a particularly peripatetic Red Planet rock after legendary British rock band “Rolling Stones”.
The moniker “Rolling Stones Rock” was announced Thursday night (Aug. 22) by actor Robert Downey Jr. at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California — the home city of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which manages InSight’s mission — just before the Stones took the stage. The unveiling came after hours of anticipation after a cryptic video Downey Jr. posted on Twitter.
Sometimes the world does seriously cool stuff. https://t.co/DjPfBIZkuZ
— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) August 23, 2019
“What a wonderful way to celebrate the ‘Stones No Filter’ tour arriving in Pasadena,” the band said in a JPL statement. “This is definitely a milestone in our long and eventful history. A huge thank you to everyone at NASA for making it happen.”
Rolling Stones Rock, which is a bit bigger than a golf ball, was disturbed by InSight’s thrusters during the lander’s touchdown on Nov. 26, 2018, NASA officials said. The stone rolled about 3 feet (1 meter) as a result.