LADEE launches (NASA/Carla Cioffi)

Last night NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (who we just call LADEE) launched in to space aboard the Minotaur V rocket from a launch pad in Virginia. The event could be seen by many on the East Coast... even those of us here in light polluted New York City. Former NASA photographer Ben Cooper took an amazing photo from the Top of the Rock, which he noted is "about 200 miles north of the launch pad." Clear skies, full hearts, can't lose!

Photo by Ben Cooper/Launch Photography

Here's a photo of LADEE taken from the Bronx:

And you can see another view, from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, here. Spectators couldn't help but tap their inner Jesse Pinkman, responding with a simple: "Yeah Science!"

According to an update overnight from NASA, they'll be completing a spacecraft checkout over the next few days, but things are looking good and "LADEE is on its way to arrive at the moon in 30 days, then enter lunar orbit." Here's their footage of the launch:

LADEE is a robotic mission that will orbit the moon and "provide unprecedented information about the environment around the moon and give scientists a better understanding of other planetary bodies in our solar system and beyond."