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The Rolling Stones just got an otherworldly tribute.
The team behind NASA's InSight Mars lander has named a particularly peripatetic Red Planet rock after the legendary band.
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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.
This animation illustrates NASA's InSight lander touching down on Mars, its thrusters setting a rock in motion. A little bigger than a golf ball, the rock was later nicknamed "Rolling Stones Rock" by the InSight team in honor of The Rolling Stones.
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"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.
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"In images taken by InSight the next day, several divots in the orange-red soil can be seen trailing Rolling Stones Rock," NASA officials wrote in the JPL statement. "It's the farthest NASA has seen a rock roll while landing a spacecraft on another planet."
The Rolling Stones took the stage at the Rose Bowl...
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