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Unlucky Frog LADEE Rocket Launch Photograph

Outline
Message featuring what appears to be a frog leaping amidst a rocket launch claims that the photograph was taken at the LADEE launch at Wallops/Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia on September 6, 2013.

Leaping frog

© Depositphotos.com/ Pedro Angeles-Flores



Brief Analysis
The claims in the message are true and the photograph is reportedly genuine. A spokesperson from Wallops confirmed to Universe Today that the image is legitimate and was not altered in any way.

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An unlucky frog seems to have hopped in front of a photo taken of the LADEE launch at Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia on Sept. 6

Unlucky Frog

Credit: NASA/Wallops/Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport


Detailed Analysis


This compelling image depicting a photobombing frog at a NASA rocket launch is circulating via social media and the blogosphere. The circulating description claims that the unlucky frog hopped in front of a camera snapping a photograph of the LADEE launch at Virginia's Wallops/Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on September 6, 2013.

As is the case with any unusual or interesting image that circulates online, many commentators have declared the picture to be "photoshopped". But, in this case, the image is reportedly genuine. A September 11 Universe Today article notes:
We’ve confirmed this image is in fact an actual photo taken by one of NASA’s remote cameras set up for the launch on September 6, 2013 from the Wallops/Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. Wallops spokesman Jeremy Eggers confirms the picture is legitimate and was not altered in any way.
The launchpad at the spaceport has a pool that stores water for a water deluge system that activates during launch. The deluge system helps to protect the pad and supress noise. And it may have been an attractive place for a little frog to hang out.  At least until launch day.

The ultimate fate of the hapless frog remains unreported.

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Last updated: September 13, 2013
First published: September 13, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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References
NASA Launches Rocket Carrying LADEE Spacecraft To Moon From Virginia
Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport
Absolutely Incredible Photo: Frog Launches With LADEE