See the frog? When NASA rocket launched, so did the frog

Frog lovers, close your eyes.

A photo taken at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility caught the outline of a frog, midair, as the LADEE spacecraft launched on Friday. Wrong place, wrong time, froggy.

Not since 1959 has such a tragedy occurred, when two frogs died -- along with 12 mice -- as the Jupiter AM-23 rocket was destroyed during launch. But other frogs -- or would-be frogs -- have given their lives for space exploration. Frogs and frog eggs have been hurtled into space in the name of science over the years, according to NASA.

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Two bullfrogs donned their tiny little helmets for the Orbiting Frog Otolith mission of 1970. The objective, NASA said, was to investigate the effect of microgravity on the frogs’ otolith -- a sensory organ in the inner ear. (That’s all true except for the helmets.) “Both flight frogs had electrocardiogram (ECG) electrodes implanted in their thoracic cavities,” NASA said, “and microelectrodes implanted in their vestibular nerves.”

Commendable. But it was a one-way trip.

As for the frog in the photo, the space agency said it was “uncertain” of its fate. Here’s betting this frog went far.


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