Robert Downey Jr. might be done portraying Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it looks like the actor isn't shying away from epic, science-related announcements. On Thursday, Downey took to social media to tease a riddle of sorts, which would involve The Rolling Stones, NASA, the Rose Bowl, and the planet Mars. After Downey's fans spent much of the day confused by the riddle, the answer was revealed in a pretty interesting way. As it turns out, Downey crashed a Rolling Stones concert in Los Angeles to make a very specific announcement -- that a rock found on the surface of Mars was being officially named in the band's honor.
#RollingStones: @RobertDowneyJr just announced @NASA found rock on Mars, naming it “Rolling Stones Rock”. “A little larger than a golf ball, the rock rolled about 3 feet; it’s the farthest NASA has seen the rock roll while landing...on another planet,” per NASA. #Marsrocks pic.twitter.com/Q3002pOHfQ— Robert Kovacik (@RobertNBCLA) August 23, 2019
Dubbed the "Rolling Stones Rock", the golf-ball-sized orb rolled about 3 feet on November 26th of last year, something that was captured by NASA's InSight lander. The rock's origins were then explained in further detail by NASA, in a tweet you can check out below.
Hello “@RollingStones Rock” Who could hang a name on you? Um... us!
When @NASAInsight touched down on the Red Planet, its engines sent a rock rolling across Mars' surface. We named it for the band. Take a closer look and learn how #MarsRocks get named: https://t.co/xY0TfoksJP pic.twitter.com/BZlABAMaZJ— NASA (@NASA) August 23, 2019
The InSight mission was spearheaded by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, whose offices are located up the road from the Rose Bowl, where the Rolling Stones concert was being held. With all of that in mind - and Downey's recent activism in the world of science - the circumstances around the announcement are kind of endearing.
"Cross-pollinating science and a legendary rock band is always a good thing..." Downey told NASA's website of the announcement.
"I've seen a lot of Mars rocks over my career," JPL geologist Matt Golombek told NASA. "This one probably won't be in a lot of scientific papers, but it's definitely one of the coolest."
What do you think of Downey announcing NASA's tie to Mars and the Rolling Stones? Is it just us, or does this whole story feel like 2019 Mad Libs in the best way? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!