This frog got WAY too close to last week's NASA rocket launchS

Last week, NASA set its LADEE spacecraft blazing on a course to the Moon. While the launch was visible from much of the East Coast, those spectators nearest the VA launchpad were afforded the most breathtaking views. One amphibious Virginian, in particular, was especially moved by the spectacle.

This frog got WAY too close to last week's NASA rocket launchS

The frog in question can be seen about a third of the way from the top of the photo on the left hand side, its splayed physique magnificently, tragically and – admit it – rather comically backlit by the first stage ignition flare of a Minotaur V rocket.

Jeremy Eggers, spokesman for the Wallops/Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, confirmed to Universe Today that the picture is 100% real and has not been doctored in any way. As for how this frog managed to find itself with a front-row seat at last week's launch, UT has that covered, too:

The launchpad at the Wallops/Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport has a “pool” for the high-volume water deluge system that activates during launches to protect the pad from damage and for noise suppression, and likely there was a (formerly) damp, cool place that was a nice spot for a frog to hang out.

Whatever fate befell you, valiant frog, we salute you. You may not have gone to space that day (as other frogs have actually done before you), but you shall be remembered. Here, look: somebody even wrote you an epic "Space-Froggity" tribute:

Ground control to Major Frog
Ground control to Major Frog
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
(Ten) Ground control (Nine) to Major Frog (Eight)
(Seven, six) Commencing countdown (Five), polliwog (Four)
(Three, two) Check ignition (One) and may pond (Blastoff) scum be with you

This is ground control to Major Frog, you’ve really made the glade
And the gators want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it’s time to leave the swamp land if you dare

This is Major Frog to ground control, I’m hopping through the door
And I’m croaking in a most peculiar way
And the flies look very different today
Here am I sitting on a lily pad far above the world
Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do

Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles, I’m feeling very still
And I think my tadpole knows which way to go
Tell my mate I ate her insect lunch, she knows
Ground control to Major Frog, your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong
Can you ribbit, Major Frog?
Can you ribbit, Major Frog?
Can you ribbit, Major Frog?
Can you…
Here am I sitting on a lily pad far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do

::single tear::

[Universe Today + Rarely Important via Cory Doctorow // ht Dwayne Day!]