NASA names rock on Mars for Rolling Stones

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Rolling Stones are global rock legends, and now members of the iconic band can take some satisfaction knowing their fame has spread beyond the Earth's atmosphere.

The team behind the InSight lander named a rock on Mars after the rock 'n' roll band, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced in a news release Thursday.

"Rolling Stones Rock," which is about the size of a golf ball, was disturbed by thrusters during the touchdown of the InSight Lander last year, KTLA reported. The rock rolled about 3 feet after the Nov. 26, 2018, landing, NASA said. NASA officials said it was the farthest any rock had moved while a spacecraft was landing on another planet.

While they had no expectations about having a stone named for them, band members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ron Wood were delighted by the news. This was more than rock 'n' roll, and they liked it.

"What a wonderful way to celebrate the 'Stones No Filter' tour arriving in Pasadena," the group said in a statement. "This is definitely a milestone in our long and eventful history. A huge thank you to everyone at NASA for making it happen."

Actor Robert Downey Jr. made the announcement Thursday night before the Stones took the stage at the Rose Bowl.

"Cross-pollinating science and a legendary rock band is always a good thing," Downey said.

"The name Rolling Stones Rock is a perfect fit," said Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division in Washington. "Part of NASA's charter is to share our work with different audiences. When we found out the Stones would be in Pasadena, honoring them seemed like a fun way to reach fans all over the world."

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