On Sept. 6, NASA launched the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft to the moon from a Virginia launch pad.
is a robotic mission on its way to orbit the moon to gather detailed information about the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust.
It’s launch was a success and provided a spectacular show for New Englanders for most of the east coast. But the real spectacle was for those observers at the launchpad itself. Besides the glory of the rockets at night, those on the ground got to see an unusual site.
Yes, what that circle is pointing out is a frog that had been launched into the air as a result of boosters firing. Nobody knows what happened to the frog, but it definitely was a unique site.
The launchpad at the Wallops/Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport has a “pool” for the high-volume water deluge system that activates during launches to protect the pad from damage and for noise suppression, and likely there was a (formerly) damp, cool place that was a nice spot for a frog to hang out.
Interestingly, this is not the first time that a frog was involved in spaceflight. In the 70’s NASA launched frogs (on purpose) into space to test how their inner ears acclimated to a zero g environment. They found that, though it took a little time, the animals were able the acclimate to the new environment which meant that humans would too.
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