NASA is set to channel the spirit of the 1998 film Armageddon on Monday. The space agency plans to crash a spacecraft into the asteroid Dimorphos in the first test of a planetary defense system. Dubbed “Double Asteroid Redirection Test” (DART), the program aims to change the celestial body’s orbit.
The hope of the test is to prove that asteroids, comets, or other space-born hazards can be deflected away from Earth, possibly saving us all from extinction. This first attempt to knock an asteroid off course has been cruising toward its destination since November 2021.
You can watch the impact (sans Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck) live on Monday September 26th on YouTube. The live stream begins at 1:30 p.m. EDT. NASA says the impact itself will occur at 7:14 p.m. EDT. The agency will livestream a press briefing about the mission at 8 p.m. EDT.
The target asteroid, Dimorphos, is a moon of another asteroid, Didymos. NASA aims to hit Dimorphos in the opposite direction of Didymos to see if the impact reduces the radius of Dimorphos’ orbit. The full consequences of hitting Dimorphos with DART remain unknown until the impact occurs.
If, after watching the collision, you want to join the fight to protect Earth from asteroids and comets, NASA has a fun way for you to do that.
Source: Digital Trends