August 22, 2019

Before The Rolling Stones took the stage at the Rose Bowl Stadium for a concert on Aug. 22, 2019, actor Robert Downey Jr. announced to the crowd that a rock on Mars had been named for the band by NASA's Mars InSight lander team.

InSight's retrorockets sent "Rolling Stones Rock" rolling about 3 feet (1 meter) as the spacecraft touched down on Mars on Nov. 26, 2018. It's the farthest NASA has seen a rock roll after landing a spacecraft on another planet. A little larger than a golf ball, the rock is about 2.2 inches (5.5 centimeters) in diameter and 1 inch (2.4 centimeters) in height. A series of divots marked its course after being set in motion by the landing.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of Caltech, manages InSight for NASA. JPL is located about three miles away from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

For more information about "Rolling Stones Rock," visit


[heavy rock music]

[Robert Downey Jr.] Yeah! Alrighty. [crowd cheers] Wow, let me take this in. [crowd cheers] Boy howdy, looking good. Hoo hoo. I don't know if y'all were aware, but it's Full Circle Thursday, yep. And I've been entrusted with gathering support for a very cool and cosmic cause. I'd like to run it by you, is that all right?

[Crowd] Yeah.

[Downey] Okay, good. So I love a backstory, an origin story. Here's this one. In 1964, two epic launches occurred: the first Rolling Stones album. [crowd cheers] God, I love this windswept look. And Mariner 4, which was the first Mars fly-by satellite. But here's the synchronistic part. Recently, NASA's first interplanetary West Coast launch to Mars was a resounding success, kind of like the No Filter tour. But while landing on the red planet's surface, it displaced a rock that rolled a fair distance in view of its onboard cameras. And some scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a fit of fandom and clever association, they put forth, "Why don't we name it 'Rolling Stones Rock'?" [crowd cheers] So Charlie, Ronnie, Keith, and Mick, they were in no way opposed to the notion, but in typical egalitarian fashion, suggested I assist in procuring 60,000 votes to make it official, so that's my mission. All those in favor of officially naming it "Rolling Stones Rock" say aye.

[Crowd] Aye.

[Downey] Good, I second the motion. Can we move to close the vote with an exuberant cheer on three? I think it needs to be heard on Mars. Three, two, one, hey yeah! [crowd cheers] All right, this was rad. Thank you for letting me be part of history. It's gonna be a great show, as usual. But first, I haven't said this since the 70's. Let's go to the tape. [driving rock music]


Rolling Stones

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