Who said scientists are always in a lab coat engrossed in research papers and have no time for things like social media? Kyle Morgenstein, an MS/PhD Student from the University of Texas at Austin, recently shattered the stereotype and became Twitter famous this week after he posted a video of licking a Martian rock. It all started when Kyle replied to a tweet on April 9 where a user had complained how nobody offers to show them a cool rock they found anymore and called adulthood “dumb.” Replying to this message, Kyle posted a few pictures of Martian rocks around 3.5 billion years old. He mentioned in the following tweet he has dozens of rocks and wants to share them with everyone.
After he posted this tweet, netizens posted comments asking him to lick the rock or rather the ‘space rock.’ It soon turned into a campaign where netizens were adamant about getting Kyle to lick the rock. At first, the research student refused to bend down to netizens’ demands. Replying to one comment, Kyle wrote that he refuses to contaminate it since he keeps it safe and has not even touched it. Kyle also mentioned that the rock stays in a temperature and humidity-controlled plastic mini showcase most of the time.
Following this, a petition was made where people wanted to make Kyle lick the space rock amassed. The petition received 163 signatures, while GoFundMe surprisingly raised $10. The GoFundMe page started by Michael Harris read, “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.”
As the campaign amassed more followers, Kyle finally acquiesced and posted a video on Twitter on April 11. Starting the video, Kyle said with reluctant resignation in his voice “Fine, y’all win.”
He further said that since all these people want to see him lick the rock so badly, that he has been yelled at in more languages than he has fingers and toes. He licks the video for a brief moment and after absorbing the taste he adds, ” mm, needs salt.”