NASA Dart Livestream: How to Watch Spaceships and Asteroid Crash

It sounds like a movie plot, but it’s actually an experiment that could have major implications for planetary defenses.

Would you like to see a spaceship crash into an asteroid… for science?

It sounds a lot like a movie plot, but it’s actually a NASA experiment that could have major implications for the US planetary defense. If the spaceship called Dart can put a small, harmless asteroid into an altered orbit, we might have a chance if a killer asteroid ever comes down on Earth.

NASA says it will stream a live feed from the spacecraft, which you can see below and on the agency website.

According to the schedule NASA’s live webpage, Live coverage begins at 6 p.m. Eastern. For the moment of the crash, NASA is targeting 7:14 p.m. Eastern.

The $325 million Planetary Defense Test aims to put the asteroid (dubbed Dimorphos, if you’re wondering) in a tighter path around the larger space rock it orbits. We don’t know right away if the test works – it can take days or weeks to measure changes.

Anyway, NASA says there’s no chance Dimorphos or his larger friend will ever threaten Earth.

What to expect:

Dart, short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, has only one camera for navigating, aiming and filming the test.

Dimorphos will appear as a point of light an hour before impact, appearing progressively larger in camera images beamed back to Earth. Managers are confident that darts won’t accidentally crash into the larger space rock. The spacecraft’s navigation is designed to distinguish between the two asteroids and target the smaller one.

You won’t see an action movie explosion when Dart, which is 1,260 pounds lighter than a small car, crashes into 11 billion pound Dimorphos.

“This is really about asteroid deflection, not perturbation,” Nancy Chabot, planetary scientist and mission team leader at the Johns Hopkins University lab, which is leading the project, told the Associated Press. “That won’t blow up the asteroid. It won’t break it up into many pieces.”

Instead, the crash will create a sizeable crater and eject 2 million pounds of rock and dirt into space. And of course it will be the end of the road for darts.

What if it’s missing?

NASA puts the probability of failure at less than 10%. If Dart misses both asteroids, it will try to take Take 2 again in a few years.

READ MORE: NASA spacecraft crashes into asteroid on Monday

Associated Press reporter Marcia Dunn contributed to this report. NASA Dart Livestream: How to Watch Spaceships and Asteroid Crash

Laura Coffey

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