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. 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. The condition of the frog, however, is uncertain.
The LADEE Spacecraft was launched into a highly elliptical orbit of 200 km x 278,000 km around the Earth. Using the Moon's gravitational field to increase the perigee of its orbit, LADEE was eventually in a position to fire its on-board thrusters to alter its trajectory and allow it to enter orbit around the Moon. The spacecraft was designed to conduct a 100 day mission to measure lunar dust and examine the lunar atmosphere from an orbit of 50 km above the surface of the Moon. The mission also tested several new technologies, including a modular spacecraft bus that may reduce the cost of future deep space missions and demonstrate two-way high rate laser communication for the first time from the Moon. The probe orbited the Moon for 7 months and at the end of the mission was intentionally crashed into the far side of the Moon on April 18, 2014. The LADEE program was managed by NASA/Ames Research Center.
Image Number: e001376
Date Taken: September 6, 2018
Owner: NASA on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons