A frog has photobombed
NASA's latest spacecraft launch - and could have croaked in the process.
The silhouette of the ambitious amphibian was captured as the space agency launched its LADEE spacecraft at Wallops Islands Flight Facility in Virginia on September 6.
The frog was likely hanging out at a pool near to the launchpad which stores water for a high pressure sprinkler system to prevent fires after launches and to suppress noise. The pool would have provided a damp cool place for the now-frazzled frog.
A NASA spokesperson confirmed to Universe Today that the frog was caught by one of its cameras as it was propelled through the air.
'The photo team confirms the frog is real and was captured in a single frame by one of the remote cameras used to photograph the launch,' The spokesperson added: 'The condition of the frog, however, is uncertain.'
The mission cost $280m and hopes to get an insight into moondust, which appears to levitate
from the moon's surface and has long mystified scientists.
The now-famous frog is not the first animal to feature in a rocket launch. During the STS-114 launch, a turkey vulture
fatally flew into the shuttle’s orange fuel tank, leaving it to fall hundreds of feet to its death.
And in 2009, a bat who became known as 'Space Bat' was clinging onto the outside tank during the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-119, to rest a broken wing when the shuttle was launched, killing the unsuspecting animal.