A scientist showed off his Martian rock on Twitter, where he was quickly pressured to lick it. After some reluctance, he’s finally obliged.
Kyle Morgenstein is a first-year MS/PhD student at the University of Texas at Austin. On April 9, he responded to a tweet complaining about how nobody shows people cool rocks once they’re an adult, posting two images: one of a rock that’s 3.5 billion years old, and another from Mars.
Sidestepping how incredible it is to own a piece of rock from another planet in our solar system, a campaign quickly formed to make Kyle lick the space rock. After fundraisers, petitions, and thousands upon thousands of requests, he did it.
Initially, when someone asked him what it tasted like, Kyle replied, ‘I refuse to contaminate it, I haven’t even touched it! It stays in a temp + humidity controlled plastic mini show case most of the time lol.’
Then, user @CharlesDWimmer light the fuse when he wrote, ‘Lick the space rock Kyle.’ Immediately, people became obsessed with how the rock would taste and, more importantly, getting Kyle to do the deed. Another tweet joking about the request managed to rack up more than 370,000 likes.
A petition to make Kyle lick the space rock amassed 163 signatures, while a GoFundMe hilariously raised $10. ‘Kyle has a space rock. I, and many others, want Kyle to lick the space rock. Lick the Space Rock Kyle! I will use these funds to send Kyle a package of mint Tick tack and a nice card. Lick the Space Rock Kyle,’ it reads.
On April 10, he tweeted, ‘Somehow I am once again being begged to put something in my mouth that has no business being there… we’ll see what I can do.’
The next day, the mouth-watering prayers of geologists and curious social media users were answered. ‘Fine, y’all win. You wanna see me lick this rock so badly, I’ve been yelled at in more languages than I have fingers and toes. I’ll lick the Mars rock,’ he says in the video. After pondering the taste, he adds, ‘Hmm, needs salt.’
Among the 67,000-plus views was Mika McKinnon, a reputable geophysicist, who took a moment to assure people Kyle’s taste-test wasn’t dangerous.
She wrote, ‘Mars has salts, even brines with halite (table salt), but those delicate evaporates can’t handle the intensity of being ejected from a planet nor the shock of Earth entry. Thus, taste test is Safe But Boring.’
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