The Unexpected Creature Caught On Film During A Rocket Launch

There's no denying that humanity has its flaws. Some have unfortunate tendencies to be just darn terrible to other people, and many have yet to learn how to best share this wonderful planet with other creatures. Despite all of this, human beings can certainly be a creative and resource lot, and have been so throughout history.

Per Time, it's impossible to ascertain when prehistoric humans learned to use fire as a tool. Estimates range from 40,000 to 400,000 years ago. In the February 2014 study in the Journal of Archaeological Science, "Fire production in the deep past? The expedient strike-a-light-model," from Andrew Sorensen et al (via Science Direct), it's reported that "convincing fire-making tools are only known from late Upper Paleolithic contexts," but that they could have been utilized much earlier (evidence of such tools is hard to determine by their nature).

One thing that can be said for sure is that our distant fire-wielding ancestors would have been utterly flummoxed by everything we've achieved since. From the Colosseum of Rome to the rockets of today, we have transformed our world and our understanding of it. Nevertheless, nature does love to keep us humble. Coverage of a recent rocket launch saw an hilarious photobomb from a most unexpected little creature.

LADEE's mission to the moon

According to NASA, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) was a spacecraft that was designed for advancing humanity's knowledge of precisely that. From orbit, its mission was to provide details on the surface of the moon, including the atmospheric factors and influences upon it.

By so doing, per NASA, we could perhaps glean details about more distant moons and other bodies in the vastness of space. If our future lies further out beyond the Earth, missions such as these are small yet crucial steps along the road in order to achieve that.

Per NBC Washington, the launch took place in September 2013. LADEE, safe inside a rocket, left Earth from Virginia, in a unique event that could reportedly be seen from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and even further afield. The launch was a success, the report went on, though LADEE did experience a blip during its ascent when it began to rotate unexpectedly and required stabilization later in the mission. This is nothing, however, compared to the unfortunate situation of the frog that encroached upon the launch, making its appearance known in a remarkable image that was captured and shared around the world.

The frog that photobombed a rocket launch

Per NASA, the extraordinary craft launched from Virginia's Wallops Flight Facility. As it did so, a sound-activated camera captured several shots. Each of them recorded the awe, the majesty, the great smoky mess of a rocket launch, but in one frame, something very unusual could be plainly seen: a frog launched into the air, as seen in the image above from NASA.

The frog may have been in the area, according to NBC News, because the center is outfitted with a "high-volume water deluge system that activates during launches to protect the pad from damage and for noise suppression." The frog, it seems, tried to bounce out of the vicinity when the action started.

The alarming image is entirely genuine, a spokesman for the Wallops Flight Facility confirmed, said NBC. Sharing the image, NASA reported that the ultimate fate of the frog is unknown. Per NBC Washington, Chris Perry was the man who put the camera in its position, and he reportedly stated that the creature looks so big because of its distance from the camera relative to the rocket: It was around 50 feet from the camera, according to him, while the rocket was three times that distance away.