Over multiple decades, The Rolling Stones have enthralled music lovers from across the globe, and now the legacy of the English rock band gets extended to Mars, courtesy NASA. The team behind the US space agency’s InSight lander has named a rock on the red-coloured planet after the band. The Rolling Stones Rock, which is a little larger than the size of a golf ball, was seen to have rolled for about 3 feet (1 meter) back on November 26 last year due to NASA InSight’s thrusters when it was touching down on the surface of the neighbouring planet. In the images that were taken by the InSight lander, divots in the orange-red soil could be observed trailing the particular rock.
- This is the farthest, that NASA has seen a rock roll across during the landing of a spacecraft on another planet, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said in a statement.
- The announcement was made by actor Robert Downey Jr., at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena before The Rolling Stones took the stage. “Cross-pollinating science and a legendary rock band is always a good thing.
- The InSight mission is led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory which is based in Pasadena. Part of NASA’s charter is to share our work with different audiences.
- The Rolling Stones took the stage at the Rose Bowl on Aug. 22, 2019. NASA’s Mars InSight lander team named a Martian rock ‘Rolling Stones Rock’.
- By doing this it gets easier for the space scientists to discuss the different objects and refer to them in the scientific papers. So even though the name ‘Rolling Stones Rock’ is informal, it will appear on working maps of the Red Planet, the JPL statement said. The US space agency will use its robotic missions to the neighbouring planet to prepare itself for human exploration there.
- Apart from NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russian space agency Roscosmos will also jointly launch the ExoMars programme next year.
- NASA has also recently confirmed the next phase of development of its Europa Clipper mission which is an interplanetary mission to explore for extraterrestrial life on Jupiter’s Galilean moon Europa.