Straight out of a science fiction story, NASA is setting up Earth's planetary defense mechanisms. They plan to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid in an attempt to knock it off course. Several social media outlets will livestream the NASA DART mission this week.
What happens if an asteroid hits Earth? According to Space Camp Turkey. the impact and its devastation will depend on the asteroid's size. If the asteroid is small, it will burn up as a shooting star. If the asteroid is the size of an apartment, it could destroy a small city. If the asteroid is the size of a 20-story building, it could completely flatten a small country.
Most of the asteroids floating in space are shattered on Jupiter's gigantic surface. However, NASA wants to prepare in advance for the dangerous "what if" an asteroid is on a collision course for Earth.
NASA DART Mission: An Asteroid Collision Experiment
This week, NASA will launch its DART mission, which stands for Double Asteroid Redirection Test. This is a planetary defense-driven test in demonstration for the "kinetic impactor" technique. NASA representatives discussed it in the video tweet below.
Why are we crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid more than 6 million miles away?— NASA (@NASA) November 19, 2021
Get the details on #DARTMission, our upcoming #PlanetaryDefense test—and tune in next week for live mission coverage: https://t.co/ld8K63DeQo pic.twitter.com/AUj86TehyI
DART mission will feature a spacecraft heading for a pair of asteroids called Didymos and Dimorphos. As previously mentioned, researchers will crash the spacecraft on one of the asteroids to knock them off course. Keep in mind that these asteroid pair don't actually threaten Earth. If the demonstration fails, there is no danger that the asteroid would smash on Earth.
Regardless, NASA revealed some of the key events and schedule for this exciting demonstration.
Where to Watch NASA DART Video
Note that DART will launch on Wednesday, November 24 at 1:20 a.m. ET. It will travel through space and arrive at the double asteroid system in fall 2022. The collision test itself will happen next year. For now, space fans have to settle with the launch event. DART will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
NASA will intentionally crash the DART spacecraft into an asteroid to see if that is an effective way to change its course, should an Earth-threatening asteroid be discovered in the future— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 19, 2021
NASA will livestream the event on their social media pages. Coverage will start sometime 12:30 a.m. ET, an hour before the launch itself. NASA might stream prelaunch activities on the interval. Fans can watch the DART launch by following through any of the options listed below.
- NASA embedded the livestream link on the top of their NASA website
- Fans can also watch through the YouTube video embedded below.
Interested space fans should know that a few prelaunch discussions already happened earlier this month. According to Digitaltrends, NASA participated on news conferences this Sunday and Monday. An engineering briefing is also scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.
More details for the DART mission and launch might be available later this week.