The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will help determine whether intentionally ramming a spacecraft into an asteroid is an effective way to change its course.


NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection (DART) mission will change the trajectory of asteroid Dimorphos by sending a spacecraft to collide with it on Monday, September 26. The best part is that you’ll be able to watch the spacecraft make its way through space, approach the asteroid, and then crash into it.

SEE: NASA sends a spacecraft to crash into an asteroid | ZDNET

Before you worry, the asteroid poses no threat to Earth. Rather, the DART mission is intended to test the technology that could protect Earth from being hit by potential asteroid or comet hazards in the future—mainly to avoid a repeat of the dinosaur situation.

There will be two different ways you can watch Monday’s mission: a live stream and a quiet live stream of the Didymos Reconnaissance Camera and Asteroid Navigation Optical Camera (DRACO).

During the mission, DART DRACO will take images during the flight and send them back to Earth at a rate of one per second. NASA will stream the images live NASA TV starts at 2:30 PM ET/5:30 PM ET.

On Thursday, NASA assured reporters that the DRACO camera was in great shape for launch.

“We now have over 200,000 images of the ground from DRACO,” said Elena Adams, DART Mission Systems Engineer for Johns Hopkins APL.

Being able to see the images is a big deal, since no one would have ever seen the asteroid Dimorphos before the collision – not even NASA. “We don’t know what his shape is,” Adams said during the briefing.

You can also tune in to the live stream starting at 3pm PT/6pm ET on NASA TV. The clash is set to take place at 4:14 PM PT/7:14 PM ET. NASA assured its audience that the images would be “something spectacular” at a September 12 briefing.

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