NASA probe takes off to solve moon dust mystery

NASA's LADEE lunar probe takes off from Virginia aboard a Minotaur V rocket.

(Credit: Screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET)

There’s a bizarre glow on the moon and scientists have launched a probe to figure out what it is.

A Minotaur V rocket roared into the skies above Virginia late Friday carrying the super sleuth robot, NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), which will examine the moon’s infinitesimal atmosphere and dust.

The $280 million mission began with a textbook launch, visible to millions along the East Coast, as the probe was carried aloft at 11:27 p.m. ET from Pad 0B at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va.

It marks the first use of Wallops Island for a moonshot, as well as the debut mission for Orbital Sciences’ Minotaur V booster.

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