WJTV News Channel 12 - NASA returns to the moon, from Virginia

NASA returns to the moon, from Virginia

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NASA is set to return to the moon. An unmanned rocket will take off late tonight from Virginia with a robotic explorer that will study the lunar atmosphere and dust.

The moon-orbiting craft is named LADEE and will measure the thin lunar atmosphere. Scientists are studying the composition of the moon's atmosphere and how it might change over time. They're also trying to learn if dust actually levitates from the lunar surface.

The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, or LADEE, will take a full month to make it to the moon, unlike the three-day Apollo flights to the moon.

An Air Force Minotaur rocket is providing the ride from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. It will be the first ever moon shot from Virginia. It plans to launch at 11:27 pm ET.

For those in eastern North Carolina, this rocket launch will be possible to see.  However, the rocket will barely be above any tree lines, as it will only be visible about 10 degrees above the horizon (about the width of your fist with your arm straight out in front of you over the horizon).

To attempt to view the rocket launch from eastern NC, look toward the northeastern sky around 11:27 pm.  The rocket will be visible between one and two minutes after launch in the very low northeastern sky (10 degrees or less from the horizon).  Those in a very wide open field and a clear sky will have the best chance to see this rocket launch, which should look like a small fire ball quickly moving across the lower sky near the horizon.

If you would prefer to watch the launch live on the web, check out this link:  http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html#.UipqENKsjTo





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