NASA’s DART: How to Watch Live as a Spacecraft Crashes Into an Asteroid

NASA’s DART spacecraft isn’t on this earth long – and it’s going off with a bang. To Launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 on November 24, 2021the Double Asteroid Redirection Test Probe has the asteroid Didymos and its tiny companion rock Dimorphos firmly in its sights. On Monday, September 26, DART will hurtle into Dimorphos at approximately 14,000 miles per hour. You can be there live and we have all the details here.

First of all, we should reiterate that there is nothing to worry about. This asteroid pair poses no threat to Earth. The mission is designed as a planetary defense test run with the intention of proving that it is a space collision can change the orbit of a space rock. The carefully orchestrated death dive will destroy the DART and, if all goes according to plan, slightly alter Dimorphos’ orbit around its parent Didymos.

In recent weeks, the team at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory have studied the asteroid pair from afar, to ensure we have an accurate understanding of the orbits of the asteroids. Once DART is destroyed, ground-based space telescopes will study Didymos and Dimorphos to see how much the orbit has changed.

The $308 million spacecraft’s only instrument is the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical Navigation (DRACO), which powers on for the final dive and takes a picture every second. Another tiny satellite that snuck out of DART en route to its target will also be watching.

About three minutes after the collision, the shoebox-sized cube (known as the Light Italian Cubesat for Imaging Asteroids) will take high-resolution photos of the crash site and the damage inflicted on the 525-foot asteroid. Another mission, scheduled for launch in 2024, will also rendezvous with Didymos sometime in 2026.

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But that’s for later, for now, here’s how you can see DART’s demise.

Here’s how to watch NASA’s DART coverage

NASA’s DART death is on Monday’s prime time, coming just hours before the big Monday Night Football match between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys.

The spaceship will collide with Dimorphos at 4:14pm PT/7:14pm ET on Monday, September 26th. Live coverage is scheduled to begin at 3pm PT/6pm ET via NASA TV.

Our YouTube channel, CNET Highlights, will have two streams. The main live stream and a feed from the spacecraft’s DRACO camera. NASA notes that when turned on, the feed is mostly black, but as the spacecraft approaches, the asteroid pair will come into view. It should be pretty exciting.

Here is how this time is translated into different zones:

  • US: September 26, 4:14 p.m. PT/7:14 p.m. ET
  • Brazil: Sept. 26, 8:14 p.m. (Federal District)
  • UK: September 26, 11:14 p.m
  • South Africa: September 27, 1:14 am
  • Russia: September 27, 2:14 am (Moscow)
  • United Arab Emirates: September 27, 3:14 am
  • India: Sep 27, 4:44 am
  • China: September 27, 7:14 am
  • Japan: September 27, 8:14 am
  • Australia: September 27, 9:14 am AEST

Sounds great. Where can I learn more about DART?

We’re glad you asked.

When DART launched in November 2021, CNET’s Monisha Ravisetti was there put together this handy guide about the mission and its goals. The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory team also has a wealth of resources about the mission, including hands-on interactive information and the latest updates.

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Check here for the live stream links closer just before launch and check out CNET Science for more space stories.

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