NASA Set to Launch LADEE Explorer to the Moon Tonight

Or, well, at least one of our robots will:

The robotic spacecraft LADEE, will fly to the moon by way of Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Liftoff is set for late Friday night from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility…

It will be the first moonshot ever from Virginia. Almost all of NASA’s previous moon missions over the past 54 years have originated from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The most recent was two years ago.

LADEE (the, ahem, Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer) will make her ascent tonight, and the Minotaur rocket she’s attached to ought to be able to be seen all along the East Coast. Now, I know it’s not the same as an Apollo mission, but this is probably as close as we’re going to get for a while since NASA started to privatize space travel in 2011.

So if you’re west of Pittsburgh tonight, glance up every once in a while. There’s a LADEE out there for you, I promise. [CBS]