Photo from NASA Wallops Flight Facility / Chris Perry
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. Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuge was created on July 10, 1975 and is comprised mainly of salt marsh and woodlands.
The wildlife refuge contains habitat for a variety of species, including upland- and wetland-dependent migratory birds. Additionally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has an agreement with NASA to use the NASA-owned portion of Wallops Island for research and management of declining wildlife in special need of protection.
The agreement with NASA covers approximately 3,000 acres of Wallops Island proper and is primarily salt marsh. But how is it possible for wildlife to peacefully coexist with space operations and what effects do rocket launches have on wildlife?
NASA’s launch facilities, roads, and facilities take up a small percentage of the area. The rest of the area remains undeveloped and provides excellent habitat for wildlife.
During launches, short term disturbance occurs in the immediate vicinity of the launch pads, but the disturbance is short-lived allowing space launches and a wildlife habitat to coexist.