Rock on Mars named ‘Rolling Stones Rock’ in honour of band

Published: August 23, 2019
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The rock in the center of this image was tossed about 3 feet (1 meter) by NASA's InSight spacecraft as it touched down on Mars on November 26, 2018.
PHOTO: NASA

The rock in the center of this image was tossed about 3 feet (1 meter) by NASA's InSight spacecraft as it touched down on Mars on November 26, 2018. PHOTO: NASA

It all started when a mysterious teaser video from Robert Downey Jr was released on Thursday in which he was heard saying “Cross-pollinating science and a legendary rock band is always a good thing…”

But it’s not just any video, it’s an announcement; NASA’s InSight lander touched and probed a rock. The machine’s thrusters disturbed the golf-ball-sized rock which made it roll for three feet across the Martian landscape. The rock is approximately 2.2 inches in diameter and 1 inch in height.

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In images taken the next day by the InSight, there were several divots in the orange-red soil that were seen trailing the Rolling Stones Rock.

“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,” said JPL geologist Matt Golombek in a press release from the agency.

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The name Rolling Stone remains informal as the scientists working with NASA’s Mars rovers give such nicknames, the official name of places and objects throughout the solar system are designated only by the International Astronomical Union.

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