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Frog photobomb of rocket caught in incredible photo

A camera at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia captured an incredible image of a frog flying through the air at the launch of the Minotaur V rocket carrying LADEE Friday night.
By GABRIELLELEVY, UPI.com   |   Sept. 12, 2013 at 12:25 PM  |  Updated Sept. 13, 2013 at 10:00 AM   |   Comments

Sept. 12 (UPI) -- A NASA camera managed to snap an incredible photo of a frog flying through the air, blasted off the ground by the force of the thrusters carrying the unmanned LADEE spacecraft.

Snapped by a remote, sound-triggered camera on a single frame in a series of eight or nine photos, the image has grabbed quite a lot of attention, including more than 15,000 likes on the version NASA posted to its Instagram account and another 9,000 likes on Facebook.

The LADEE -- Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer -- lifted off from Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore at 11:27 p.m. Friday. It's headed all 238,850 miles to the moon, but the ill-fated frog probably just rocketed a few dozen feet.

"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," NASA wrote of the image. "The condition of the frog, however, is uncertain.

Chris Perry, who set up the camera, said it was about 150 feet from the rocket. The frog was probably about 50 feet from the camera.

"Our photo archive contains launch sequence photos from every launch, and none that I’ve seen so far has shown us anything like this before," Perry said. "Definitely a surprise to us (and a little sad)."

NASA also said its operations and the wildlife refuge on Wallops Island, where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducts research and management for wildlife in need of protection on the island's salt marshes, can coexist peacefully.

"NASA’s launch facilities, roads, and facilities take up a small percentage of the area," the post said. "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."

LADEE is due to reach the moon October 6.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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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 on September 6, 2013. NASA Wallops Flight Facility/Chris PerryThe Sun's magnetic field and releases of plasma directly affect Earth and the rest of the solar system. Solar wind shapes the Earth's magnetosphere and magnetic storms are illustrated here as approaching Earth. These storms, which occur frequently, can disrupt communications and navigational equipment, damage satellites, and even cause blackouts. The white lines represent the solar wind; the purple line is the bow shock line; and the blue lines surrounding the Earth represent its protective magnetosphere. The magnetic cloud of plasma can extend to 30 million miles wide by the time it reaches earth. UPI/SOHO/ESA/NASA
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