September 12, 2013
To The Moon! NASA Gives Unsuspecting Frog The Ride Of His Life
[ Watch the Video: Rocket Frog Catapults To Internet Stardom ]
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The Internet is a funny place. It’s a place where videos of baby-snatching hawks and clumsy twerkers turn out to be less than true - a hoax perpetrated by people who merely want to pull a fast one on a gullible public. Therefore it may be hard to believe that a picture jumping around on the web today is true, but NASA has confirmed it. Funny thing about NASA is, they have this knack for always telling the truth.
The picture in question looks like countless others we’ve all seen before. A rocket is just moments away from leaving our atmosphere on the launch pad, enveloped in smoke with a bright burning blast beneath it. Then, there in the corner, is a mysterious floating object, something amphibious.
Somehow, a remote camera aimed at the LADEE spacecraft at Wallops Island Facility in Virginia managed to take the perfect shot of one unfortunate frog being launched into the air as the spacecraft begins to lift off. As it turns out, this might be the absolute worst case of “wrong place at the wrong time.”
NASA has confirmed the image taken on September 6, 2013 to be 100 percent legitimate.
At Wallops/Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport they have a pool to collect water from the launch site. The site uses a large amount of water to protect the launchpad from severe burns as well as to muffle the sound of the rocket blast. It could also be a great place for a frog to hang out late one night and forget where it was in the morning.
In a statement explaining the unfortunate incident, NASA stated: “But how is it possible for wildlife to peacefully coexist with space operations and what effects do rocket launches have on wildlife? NASA’s launch facilities, roads, and facilities take up a small percentage of the area. The rest of the area remains undeveloped and provides excellent habitat for wildlife. During launches, short term disturbance occurs in the immediate vicinity of the launch pads, but the disturbance is short-lived allowing space launches and a wildlife habitat to coexist.”
It’s not known whether the frog survived his brief flight, though it certainly can’t be likely. The frog only appears in one frame, meaning it must have been traveling at an accelerated rate.
This isn’t the first time NASA has had run-ins with Mother Nature.
The most notable instance might have occurred in 2009 when Brian the Bat bravely hung on for dear life as he took the trip of a lifetime. Before the Discovery STS-119 mission was set to take off, NASA officials saw the bat clinging tightly to one of the fuel tanks.
The team thought the bat would simply fly away on his own or become scared and leave when the rockets first began to fire. Upon closer inspection, however, it was assumed the bat had injured either his shoulder, wing or wrist and did not flee. In NASA’s words: “The animal likely perished quickly during Discovery’s climb into orbit.”
This does not bode well for the frog who has already been dubbed “Frank the Frog.”