by Amir Alexander
At 5:32pm EDT (21:32 UTC), June 18, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) lifted off from its launch pas at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on board an Atlas V rocket. LRO will take 4 days to reach the Moon, and another two months to adjust its orbit. It will spend the following year in a polar orbit at about 50 kilometers above the Lunar surface. It is the lowest altitude of any spacecraft that has orbited the Moon. LRO carries with it the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), designed to smash into the Moon in search of water ice deposits at the poles.