Rolling Stones get name on the little Martian rock that rolled
|Toronto Star 24 Aug 2019 at 08:41|
PASADENA, CALIF.‚ÄĒThere is now a ‚ÄúRolling Stones Rock‚ÄĚ on Mars, and it‚Äôs giving Mick, Keith and the boys some serious satisfaction.
NASA named a little stone for the legendary rockers after its InSight robotic lander captured it rolling across the surface of Mars last year, and the new moniker was made public at Thursday night‚Äôs Rolling Stones concert at the Rose Bowl.
‚ÄúNASA has given us something we have always dreamed of: our very own rock on Mars. I can‚Äôt believe it,‚ÄĚ Mick Jagger told the crowd after grooving through a rendition of ‚ÄúTumbling Dice.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúI want to bring it back and put it on our mantelpiece.‚ÄĚ
Robert Downey Jr. announced the name, taking the stage just before the band‚Äôs set at the Southern California stadium that is just a stone‚Äôs throw from NASA‚Äôs Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages InSight.
‚ÄúCross-pollinating science and a legendary rock band is always a good thing,‚ÄĚ the Iron Man actor said backstage.
He told the crowd that JPL scientists had come up with the name ‚Äúin a fit of fandom and clever association.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúCharlie, Ronnie, Keith and Mick: they were in no way opposed to the notion,‚ÄĚ Downey Jr. said, ‚Äúbut in typical egalitarian fashion, they suggested I assist in procuring 60,000 votes to make it official, so that‚Äôs my mission.‚ÄĚ
He led the audience in a shout of ‚Äúaye‚ÄĚ before declaring the deed done.
Jagger later said, ‚ÄúI want to say a special thanks to our favourite action man, Robert Downey Jr. That was a very nice intro he gave.‚ÄĚ
The rock, just a little bigger than a golf ball, was moved by InSight‚Äôs own thrusters as the robotic lander touched down on Mars on Nov. 26.
It only moved about a metre, but that‚Äôs the farthest NASA has seen a rock roll while landing a craft on another planet.
‚ÄúI‚Äôve seen a lot of Mars rocks over my career,‚ÄĚ Matt Golombek, a JPL geologist who has helped NASA land all its Mars missions since 1997, said in a statement. ‚ÄúThis one probably won‚Äôt be in a lot of scientific papers, but it‚Äôs definitely one of the coolest.‚ÄĚ
The Rolling Stones and NASA logos were shown side by side in the run-up to the show as the sun set over the Rose Bowl, leaving many fans perplexed as to what the connection was before it was announced.
The concert had originally been scheduled for spring, before the Stones postponed their No Filter North American tour because Jagger had heart surgery.
The 76-year-old showed no signs of poor health or even his age as he danced, pranced and boogied up and down a long catwalk that extended to the middle of the stadium‚Äôs field.
He did poke fun at his advanced years.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs great to be back at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena,‚ÄĚ Jagger said. ‚ÄúAt least I think we‚Äôve been here before.‚ÄĚ (They have, in 1994.)
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He also said, ‚ÄúWe walked up and down Hollywood Blvd. looking for the Rolling Stones star but couldn‚Äôt find it.‚ÄĚ (The band doesn‚Äôt have one.)
And he took a dig at President Donald Trump‚Äôs recent talk of acquiring Greenland when introducing his bandmates.
‚ÄúOn the drums,‚ÄĚ Jagger shouted, ‚ÄúGreenland‚Äôs new economic adviser, Charlie Watts!‚ÄĚ