I hope that wasn’t my prince

 
An unlucky frog caught in a NASA launch on September 6, 2013. Credit NASA/Wallops/Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport
An unlucky frog caught in a NASA launch on September 6, 2013. Credit NASA/Wallops/Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport

Wow!

Yes, that’s a real frog, and a real NASA launch, and no, the photo wasn’t retouched.

This is NASA’s LADEE heading to the moon “to gather detailed information about the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust.” The automatic cameras caught this image at the launch Pad 0B at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.” For real.

So what’s with the frog?

Well, the launch pad gets deluged with water on take off, to protect it, and there’s a big pool of water to do that. It’s also in the middle of a wildlife refuge, since rocket launches aren’t very frequent. So the poor frog presumably found a spot that was comfortable and damp – at the time.

Actually, I think the frog must have been much closer to the camera than the rocket, perhaps just 7 m up.

As NASA says, “The condition of the frog, however, is uncertain.”

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