NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission will change the trajectory of the Dimorphos asteroid by sending a spacecraft to collide with it on Monday, Sept. 26. The best part is you will be able to watch as the spacecraft makes its way through space, approaches the asteroid and then bangs into it.
Before you become alarmed, the asteroid does not pose any threat to Earth. Rather, the DART mission is meant to test the technology that could defend Earth from being struck by potential asteroid or comet hazards in the future – basically to avoid the dinosaur situation from repeating itself.
There will be two different ways you can watch the mission on Monday: a live broadcast and a quiet live feed of the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO) camera.
During the DART mission, DRACO will take images throughout the flight and send them back to Earth at a rate of one per second. NASA will be live streaming the images on NASA TV starting at 2:30 PM ET/5:30 PM ET.
On Thursday, NASA reassured reporters that the DRACO camera is in great shape for launch.
“We have over 200,000 images already on the ground from DRACO,” said Elena Adams, the DART Mission Systems Engineer for Johns Hopkins APL.
The ability to see the images is a big deal, since no one will have ever seen the Dimorphos asteroid before the collision–not even NASA. “We don’t know what shape it is,” said Adams during the briefing.
You can also tune in on to the live coverage which begins at 3 PM PT/6 PM ET on NASA TV. The collision is set to occur at 4:14 PM PT/7:14 PM ET. NASA reassured its audience that the images will be “something spectacular,” in a briefing on Sept. 12.