Frog hitches ride on NASA rocket headed for lunar orbit

Sept. 13, 2013 at 1:46 AM
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HOUSTON, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- A frog appears to have hitched an almost certainly fatal ride on a rocket launched at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The small amphibian showed up in a photo posted Wednesday on Universe Today, a space and astronomy website, CNN reported. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration confirmed that what looks like a frog clinging to the side of the rocket launched last Friday at the Mid-Atlantic Space Facility was indeed a frog.

"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 said.

The rocket, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer is scheduled to arrive in lunar orbit Oct. 6.

Universe Today speculated the frog had found a comfortable home in the system that provides a water deluge during launches to protect the pad and suppress noise. Then it got lucky -- or unlucky.

"The condition of the frog, however, is uncertain," NASA said on its site, although experts say the trip through Earth's atmosphere on a high-speed rocket was unlikely to end well for the animal.

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