Mick Jagger discusses NASA’s decision to name a small rock on Mars after the Rolling Stones.
PASADENA, Calif. — The reach of legendary rock band The Rolling Stones now officially extends to Mars.
A small rock on the Martian surface, slightly larger than a golf ball, will be named in the band’s honor, eternally known as “Rolling Stones Rock.”
“NASA has given us something we have always dreamed of,” lead singer Mick Jagger, 76, said during the Stones concert at the Rose Bowl on Thursday night. “I can’t believe it. I want to bring it back and put in on our mantelpiece.”
Robert Downey Jr. announced the “cosmic” honor before the Stones took the stage for the first time at the Rose Bowl in 25 years, part of the band’s “No Filter” tour.
“This is so rad, thank you for letting me be part of history,” Downey Jr. said from the stage.
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The actor who played brilliant Tony Stark explained that when NASA’s InSight lander touched down on the Martian surface on Nov. 26, 2018, the thrusters made the rock roll about three feet — all within the ship’s onboard cameras.
In images taken the next day, several divots in the orange-red soil were noticeable. It’s the farthest NASA has seen a rock move while landing a spacecraft on another planet.
“Some scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a fit of fandom and clever association, put forth, ‘Why don’t we name it, Rolling Stones Rock?’ ” Downey said.
The InSight mission is led by NASA’s JPL, which is located miles away from the Rose Bowl. Downey made this title quasi-official by asking for an audible vote from the 60,000 member audience. There were no audible dissenters.
Downey Jr. has promised a major announcement Thursday afternoon with cryptic, trippy video on his official Twitter and Instagram accounts — filmed against a galaxy backdrop with the Rolling Stones logo at the top.
In the video, Downey Jr. said he was “bubbling with anticipation.”
“My gosh, I have inside me a riddle that I have to share. What do the Rolling Stones, NASA, and the Rose Bowl and the ruling planet of my birth sign all have in common?”
He never answered the question.
“Folks used to say to me, ‘How do you keep an idiot in suspense? I’ll tell you tomorrow.’ ” he joked. “Well you don’t have to wait. Because it will all be revealed tonight. Oh, my God. This may be the most exciting thing I have ever done.”
Downey Jr. then started singing the Stones classic “Wild Horses,” before he was mock-run over by digital horses.
The Stones Twitter account made it clear that the Avenger would be hitting the stage, tweeting, “Maybe we’ll see you tonight then…?”
The NASA account stirred the mystery as well, tweeting, “Can’t get no satisfaction till you know what this is all about? Stay tuned!”
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