The frog was probably enjoying a water pool that NASA scientists had put on the launchpad to protect the pad from damage, Universe Today reported. As the rocket lifted off, the amphibian was photographed shooting upward in a 2552 degrees F. (roughly) steam cloud. It has not been seen since.
NASA confirmed in a statement that the frog is not a joke: It really did launch a frog, the agency says. But NASA did not comment on whether it intended to launch the frog as part of its $263 million mission to the moon.
“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,” NASA said in a statement.
“The condition of the frog, however, is uncertain,” it added.
The report of the frog’s one giant leap comes just four years after a bat was incinerated during a launch of space shuttle Discovery. In that episode, a fruit bat was discovered napping on the shuttle’s fuel tank just before blastoff. NASA said it hoped the bat would leave. It did not. The rocket boosters ignited.
The bat was posthumously named Brian.