LADEE launch: Frog tries to hitch a ride to space. [PHOTO]

Frog Tries to Hitch a Ride to Space

Frog Tries to Hitch a Ride to Space

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Sept. 12 2013 12:43 PM

Frog Tries to Hitch a Ride to Space


NASA Wallops Flight Facility/Chris Perry

When NASA launched its LADEE moon probe on Sept. 6, a frog seemed to get in the way. After Universe Today spotted the extraordinary image, NASA offered a little more info:

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. The condition of the frog, however, is uncertain.

But my Slate colleague Phil Plait, who runs the Bad Astronomy blog, says that he thinks the frog is probably fine. "Given how big it looks compared to the rocket, it was clearly pretty close to the camera," he says. However: "I can't personally guarantee the frog made it through a) alive, or 2) with clean underpants."

Sorry, I have to say it: That's one giant leap for frogkind.

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Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, New America, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies.