For many, the idea is pure science fiction: A deadly asteroid is hurtling toward earth, and humanity’s only hope is to send up a Hail Mary device meant to destroy or deflect the impending doom-rock.
But on Monday, NASA is going to try just that…and they’ll be live-streaming the whole thing so the world can watch.
On Monday, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft, or DART, is set to collide with Dimorphos, a small asteroid that is the moon of a larger space rock, Didymos. While these two near-Earth objects pose no immediate threat to our world, NASA launched DART last year to test a technique that could one day be used for planetary defense.
When is the impact and how can you watch it?
DART is set to crash into Dimorphos at 14,000 mph at 7:14 p.m. Eastern time Monday.
NASA Television will broadcast coverage of the end of this mission beginning at 6 p.m.
If all you want to watch is a stream of photos from the spacecraft as it closes in on the asteroid, NASA’s media channel will begin broadcasting those at 5:30 p.m.
And while there are some serious high-tech components to the mission, the primary principle is very simple: The DART space craft will be moving at an extremely high rate of speed, and the collision of this kamikaze satellite will deflect Dimorphos onto a different path.
The astral pit-maneuver takes place on Monday night, and there is little doubt that the whole world will be watching.