Less than a week after NASA launched its latest moon orbiter, the world appears to be abuzz, not about the mission, but about a tiny airborne frog that photo-bombed the liftoff photos.
Late last Friday, September 6, the 70-foot (21-meter) high Minotaur V rocket carrying NASA’s car-sized Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) lifted off from a pad at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility at Wallops Island, Virginia.
Look closely at the upper left of this official NASA image, and among the cloud of debris flying away from the rocket blast, you can clearly make out the silhouette of the hapless amphibian–with limbs splayed out. Tip of the hat to UniverseToday.com for this amazing find in NASA’s own photo stream of the launch.
Agency officials confirm the photo has not been faked and it was captured in a single shot by one of the still cameras at the launch site that was triggered by the sound of the blast.
Herpetologist David Green of McGill University in Montreal, who has looked at the photos, confirms that the shadow is in all likelihood a frog, displaying a very typical stance of plummeting amphibians seen in nature.
“This indeed looks like the natural position frogs exhibit when falling from great heights,” said Green. The question everyone of course is asking…did the rocket -propelled frog make it out alive from this fiery blast. NASA cannot confirm it.
“I have no idea if the little guy survived but I can imagine he wasn’t too happy,” said Green.