RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - I suppose that upon seeing this image, Kermit the Frog would say, "It's not easy being green."
At Friday's launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility of the LADEE mission, one camera captured the unfortunate, likely final, flight of a frog from the launch pad.
Yes, this photo is legit and unaltered. One of NASA’s remote cameras rolling on the Minotaur V rocket launch on September 6, 2013 captured frame-by-frame in great detail the launch...of the frog.
Maybe this frog thought the launch pad was a lily pad. After all, there was a pool of water there as part of the cooling protection of the pad during launch. This is important for structural safety and security when rather hot rockets take flight. It was probably also an enticing pond for creatures such as this frog.
NASA released the photo with this explanation: "A still camera on a sound trigger captured this intriguing photo of an airborne frog as NASA's LADEE spacecraft lifts off from Pad 0B at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. 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." For you photography folks, the still camera was a Cannon EOS 40D.
NASA Goddard found this imgur with a happier ending for the flying frog, and shared it on their Twitter feed:
NASA says about its land on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, "Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuge was created on July 10, 1975 and is comprised mainly of salt marsh and woodlands. The wildlife refuge contains habitat for a variety of species, including upland- and wetland-dependent migratory birds. Additionally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has an agreement with NASA to use the NASA-owned portion of Wallops Island for research and management of declining wildlife in special need of protection. The agreement with NASA covers approximately 3,000 acres of Wallops Island proper and is primarily salt marsh."
In case you missed it, here's the launch of LADEE, but I don't see the flying frog in this perspective:
And check out this photo gallery of the rocket launch viewed along the East Coast.
For more information about the LADEE mission and launch, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ladee
To learn about our Moon, visit: http://moon.nasa.gov