11:45 AM | Hard to believe, but apparently real photo from last week's NASA Wallops Island rocket launch
Here is a follow up story to the NASA rocket launch that took place last Friday night in Wallops Island, Virginia and it has to be put into the “hard to believe” category. Apparently, and NASA believes this is not a photograph stunt, a frog was sacrificed during the launch last week and its silhouette can be seen in the smoke of the 90-foot tall Minotaur 5 rocket that carried the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft to space. It turns out that this frog was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time sitting on or near the launch pad. The photograph was captured by a remote still camera and the photo team confirms that the frog is real and it was captured in a single frame.
Why was the frog hanging around this area? The Wallops Island facility sits among a wildlife refuge and the launch pad itself has a pool of water for the “high volume deluge system” that activates during launches to suppress noise and protect the pad from damage. Officially, NASA says the condition of the frog is uncertain, but “these kinds of things tend to not end well for amphibians”. No truth to the rumor that the creature’s last words were “orrrbit, orrrbit”.