NASA spacecraft to collide with asteroid on this date. How to watch it live?

By | Edited by Aryan Prakash
Sep 26, 2022 03:39 PM IST

The US space agency claims Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) to be the world’s first planetary defence test against ever possible asteroid collision with Earth.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will conduct a defence test against any imaginable asteroid collision with Earth on September 26.

The US space agency claims it to be the world’s first planetary defence test – Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) – and plans to livestream for the public on its media platforms.

The DART mission is a key test that NASA will perform before any actual need to destroy risky asteroid appears.(NASA)
The DART mission is a key test that NASA will perform before any actual need to destroy risky asteroid appears.(NASA)

What is the DART mission ?

“The DART is the first-ever mission dedicated to investigating and demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection by changing an asteroid’s motion in space through kinetic impact,” NASA informed.

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This DART test method will have a spacecraft purposely colliding with an asteroid in order to slow its speed and deflect the path. DART’s target is the Dimorphos, a 160 m diameter asteroid which does not present any risk of collision with Earth. It revolves around another asteroid, Didymos, that is roughly 780 m in diameter.

What is the chance of an asteroid hitting Earth?

Although asteroids often come close to hitting the Earth, it has been over 65 million years since a disastrous collision with our planet, which was apparently the reason for the mass extinction of many species, including dinosaurs.

NASA runs the Near-Earth Object (NEO) Observations Program to detect, track, and mark near earth celestial objects that are larger than 140 meters (larger than a small football stadium). It asserts that such humongous objects present a risk to Earth because of the level of devastation it would induce if ever smashed with Earth.

However, it admits that the plan is purely preparatory, as no such asteroid has a substantial chance to strike Earth for the next 100 years.

When and where to watch the DART mission ?

NASA has planned for wide publicity of its test. It has named September 26 as DART impact day.

The live coverage of the event will start at 6 p.m. (September 27 at 3:30 am as per Indian time ) on NASA TV, the agency’s website and its social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. According to NASA, at 7:14 p.m. (on September 26 at 4:45 am as per Indian time ) the DART will smash the Dimorphos asteroid.

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