NASA launched its first moon shot in ten years Thursday, sending up a pair of unmanned science probes from Cape Carneveral that will help determine where astronauts could land and set up camp in years to come.

After more than a decade's absence, NASA made it first steps back to the moon June 18, launching two lunar spacecrafts atop an Atlas V rocket.

The LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) and the LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Spacecraft) are unmanned scouts designed to lay the first groundwork for NASA's proposed 2020 return of astronauts to the moon.

The two spacecraft should reach the moon in four to five days — or by early next week.

We're going to be doing some lunar prospecting, if you will, excavation style, said project manager Dan Andrews.