Here’s How To Watch NASA Crash a Spacecraft Onto an Asteroid On Purpose

Hollywood has long theorized that the way to prevent an asteroid from crashing into Earth is to send a rocket into space to destroy it. Well, that or send a team of oil drillers including Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi and Michael Clarke Duncan. Now NASA is testing the theory (the rocket, not the oil drillers).

On Monday, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will see if we can defend against asteroids or comets that are on a high-speed orbit to Earth. The 19-foot-long spacecraft will crash intentionally into 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, scientists say, is not to blow up the asteroid, but to change its speed and path (which will be measured with telescopes on Earth). DART launched November 2021. Impact with Dimorphs is expected to take place on Monday, September 26 at 7:14 PM ET.

In fact, we can watch this crash test dummy in space. On September 16, DART released a smaller spacecraft carrying it, called LICIACube. That vessel will film the collision and the debris.

It may sound a little crazy to some, but NASA notes that there are about 25,000 large (500 feet or larger) asteroids near Earth. And the scientists want to have a contingency plan if one of them ends up on a collision course, so we’re not going the way of the dinosaurs. China is working on a similar program.

Want to see DART take on an interstellar invader? Here’s how.

When will DART crash into the asteroid?

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

Where can I see the rocket crash into the asteroid?

NASA does general coverage on all of its properties, including NASA TV. If your cable/satellite provider doesn’t offer that channel, you can check it out at:

Does this asteroid pose any threat to Earth right now?

No. NASA made it clear in August that the asteroid the DART is testing poses no threat to Earth.

When will we know if a rocket crash into an asteroid had any effect?

Monday at 8 p.m. ET, NASA will hold a press briefing after the impact, during which officials will discuss the mission.

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