NASA will crash a spacecraft into a 525-foot-wide asteroid in September. Here's how to watch it

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NASA is preparing for their "Armageddon"-like mission of crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid, and they want the public to watch live.

Asteroids frequently get close to hitting Earth, but it's been over 65 million years since a catastrophic one has impacted our planet. Plus, there's been renewed interest in objects hurtling toward us since the popularity of the 2021 doomsday comedy "Don't Look Up."

Luckily, NASA will test out its plan in case it ever happens.

The space agency's Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, will crash into the Dimorphos, which orbits a larger asteroid named Didymos, next month. Scientists say neither asteroid is headed towards Earth, but with Dimorphos at an estimated 520 feet long, it is an asteroid that could cause significant damage if it were to hit Earth, NASA says.

Regardless of the outcome, the mission will give astronomers and scientists "important data" on what the response would be should a dangerous asteroid have a with Earth. There currently is no threat to us, scientists say.

"We don't want to be in a situation where an asteroid is headed toward Earth and then have to be testing this kind of capability. We want to know about both how the spacecraft works and what the reaction will be by the asteroid to the impact before we ever get in a situation like that," Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer for NASA, said in November.

When will DART hit the asteroid Dimorphos?

DART will complete its 10-month journey through space on Sept. 26 at approximately 7:14 p.m. ET. NASA's live coverage of the event will begin at 6 p.m. ET.

Ten days beforehand, DART will release a tiny observation that will capture the collision.

Where can I watch the DART mission impact?

NASA will live stream the event on NASA TV and their website. It can also be viewed on their on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

What will DART do?

The collision will happen about 6.8 million miles from Earth. Coming in at 15,000 miles per hour, DART won't destroy Dimorphos, but "give it a small nudge." Doing so will affect the asteroids orbit by about 1%, which would be enough to divert one from Earth.

"It's such an exciting mission," Andy Cheng, lead investigator of DART, said in November. "It's unbelievable."

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Citation: NASA will crash a spacecraft into a 525-foot-wide asteroid in September. Here's how to watch it (2022, August 30) retrieved 15 April 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2022-08-nasa-spacecraft-foot-wide-asteroid-september.html
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