A frog launched into the air along with a NASA spacecraft has captured the imagination of social media users, and a still photograph showing the amphibian’s unfortunate trip gathered thousands of likes and comments online.
(As defined by the Urban Dictionary
, to photobomb is "to hop in a picture
right before it is taken.")
The frog became airborne from the thrusters that pushed the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) into space Friday at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. A remote camera captured the image.
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“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 in a release. “The condition of the frog, however, is uncertain.”
One person on the photo team, Chris Perry, set the camera up about 150 feet away from LADEE.
“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 told United Press International
. “Definitely a surprise to us (and a little sad).”
The Virginia launch facility is located at the Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuge. NASA’s facilities only cover a small percentage of the refuge.
“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,” the release said.
The surreal photo garnered more than 12,700 likes on Facebook. While many users expressed concerns over the frog’s welfare, others cracked jokes.
“Ground control to major frog,” user Rosco Mcclelland wrote.
“Why is he flying? Did his car get toad?” another user, Eleazar Mendoza Jr., quipped.
“The condition of the Frog is uncertain. But scientists estimate it somewhere between medium well and well done. The French are being consulted,” User Sean Fishback commented.
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