During the live broadcast before the launch of the Ariane 5 rocket in South America, a cute sloth named Gerard accidentally got into the picture. Despite the fact that the sloth appeared for only two seconds, this time was enough for him to divert all attention to himself. The audience remembered well how the mammal looked directly into the camera at the launch pad.
This happened during the launch by the European Space Agency (ESA) of the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer spacecraft, or Juice for short, on Friday, April 14 in French Guiana. The agency has since named the sloth Gerard.
“Aside from the actual launch, this guy is definitely the star of @ESA’s JUICE telecast,” Dr. Nadia Drake wrote on Twitter.
Aside from the actual launch, this guy is definitely the star of @ESA‘s JUICE telecast. pic.twitter.com/zxAZq8gZ3I
— Dr. Nadia Drake (@nadiamdrake) April 14, 2023
The Space Agency confirmed that the sloth was not in any danger because it was far enough away from the launch site. He left the launch pad long before the launch of the rocket, although he moved very slowly.
Last week, the Juice spacecraft took its first selfies in orbit. Juice’s task is to carefully explore Jupiter’s three icy moons: Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. The probe has a set of remote sensing and geophysical instruments to identify satellites suspected by scientists to contain liquid oceans beneath the surface.
In the coming days, it will continue to deploy working antennas and instrument rods before making a series of gravitational flights around the Earth, Moon and Venus before heading to Jupiter.
Earlier we reported about how a drawing of a Ukrainian girl was applied to an Ariane 5 rocket.
Follow us on Twitter to get the most interesting space news in time