When the InSight lander touched down on the Red Planet on November 26, 2018, its thrusters blew the rock about 3 feet, making it a rolling stone in the most literal sense. Actor Robert Downey Jr. announced the honor Thursday night before the band’s concert at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, about three miles from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “NASA has given us something we’ve always dreamed of, our own rock on Mars,” singer Mick Jagger told the crowd.
The little rock on Mars
However, NASA says the new name isn’t official because the International Astronomical Union is in charge of assigning the scientific names of places and objects in the solar system, such as planets, asteroids and locations on other worlds. But the name will be used. “So while the name Rolling Stones Rock is informal, it will appear on working maps of the Red Planet,” the NASA statement said. “I’ve seen a lot of Mars rocks over my career,” said NASA geologist Matt Golombek. “This one probably won’t be in a lot of scientific papers, but it’s definitely one of the coolest.”