NASA’s LADEE spacecraft carries unexpected friend ‘small frog’ during launch: Report

NASA’s latest launch of Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft is again in news and this time not for its scientific probe reports or any technical loophole.

The unmanned LADEE rocket headed to the moon with an unexpected passenger, a small frog, which was caught on camera while the rocket was being launched.

The rare moment was captured by a camera taking pictures of the launch of LADEE spacecraft. The picture has went viral on the web.

One of three still-cameras setup around the launch site caught the small frog in the air. The frog was clearly visible in the photo with its arms and legs spread wide. The photo was posted to NASA’s Instagram account.

A frog is captured during a lift off of NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia

“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 on its Instagram page.

NASA said, “It is likely that it mistakenly strayed into a “high-volume water deluge pool” thinking it a giant pond.

“The rocket launch pad is within the 3,000 acres of Wallops Island, much of which is the wildlife refuge. Nasa’s launch facilities, roads and facilities take up a small percentage of the area. The rest of the area remains undeveloped and provides excellent habitat for wildlife,” the space agency said.

The rocket is carrying the NASA Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) for a 100-day probe mission to moon. The purpose of the mission is to gather measurements and explore the moon’s atmosphere.

The robotic lunar explorer ‘LADEE’ was launched on Saturday 0327 GMT aboard a Minotaur V rocket — a converted peacekeeping missile – from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Notably, the ambitious moon mission developed some technical glitch soon after its launch last week.