Here’s how to watch NASA crash a spacecraft into an asteroid—on purpose

Hollywood has long theorized that the way to stop an asteroid from crashing into Earth is to send a rocket into space to destroy it. Either that or you send in a crew of oil drillers including Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi and Michael Clark Duncan. Now NASA is testing the theory (the rocket theory, not the oil drills).

On Monday, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will show whether we are capable of defending ourselves against asteroids or comets heading toward Earth at high speeds. The 19-meter spacecraft is intentionally hurled at Dimorphos, which is about twice the height of the Empire State Building and 525 feet wide. It is currently orbiting a larger asteroid called Didymos.

The goal, the scientists say, is not to blow up the asteroid, but to change its speed and trajectory (which is measured with telescopes on Earth). DART kicked off in November 2021. Impact with Dimorphs is scheduled to take place on Monday, September 26 at 7:14 p.m. ET.

Better yet, we can look at this crash dummy for space testing. On September 16th, DART released a smaller spacecraft called LICIACube. This vehicle will film the collision and debris.

It might sound a little silly to some, but NASA notes that there are approximately 25,000 large (500 feet or more) asteroids that are in the vicinity of Earth. And they want to have a contingency plan in case one of them goes on a collision course, so we don’t go the way of the dinosaurs. China is working on a similar program.

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Would you like to watch DART take on an interstellar invader? Here’s how.

When will DART crash on the asteroid?

The spacecraft will impact the asteroid Dimorphos on Monday September 26th. NASA expects the impact to occur at 7:14 p.m. ET, but coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Where can I watch the rocket impact the asteroid?

NASA reports extensively on all of its properties, including NASA TV. If your cable/satellite provider doesn’t broadcast this channel, you can watch it on:

Does this asteroid currently pose a threat to Earth?

no NASA Make clear in August that the asteroid they are testing DART on does not pose a threat to Earth.

When will we know if a rocket crashing into an asteroid had an impact?

At 8:00 p.m. ET Monday, NASA will host a post-impact press conference where officials will discuss the mission.

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