CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA is headed back to the moon, this time to explore its thin atmosphere and rough dust.
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.
Weather permitting, the soaring Minotaur rocket should be visible along much of the East Coast -- as far south as South Carolina, as far north as Maine and as far west as Pittsburgh.
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 is short for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.