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How to observe a spacecraft slam into an asteroid on Monday

NOTE: NASA is providing two feeds of the occasion — learn on for extra particulars.

NASA is about to intentionally crash a spacecraft right into a distant asteroid in a first-of-its-kind planetary protection check.

The hope is that by slamming a spacecraft into an asteroid at a pace of round 15,000 mph, we will alter its orbit, thereby confirming a technique to direct doubtlessly hazardous area rocks away from Earth.

To be clear, NASA’s goal asteroid, Dimorphos, poses no menace to Earth. This is merely an effort to find out the viability of such a course of if we do ever spot a big asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft, which launched in November 2021, will attain Dimorphos on Monday, September 26, and the entire occasion will probably be streamed on-line.

Mission overview

The 530-feet-wide Dimorphos asteroid is orbiting one other one referred to as Didymos, which is about half a mile throughout.

When DART smashes into Dimorphos at a location about 6.8 million miles from Earth, telescopes right here on the bottom will analyze the asteroid’s orbit to see if it has modified in any manner.

DART is provided with an instrument referred to as the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical Navigation (DRACO). DRACO is guiding DART to its ultimate vacation spot and also will present a real-time feed from the spacecraft, sending one picture per second again to Earth.

NASA says that within the hours earlier than impression, the display screen will seem principally black, other than a single level of sunshine marking the situation of the binary asteroid system that the spacecraft is heading towards.

But because the second of impression attracts nearer, the purpose of sunshine will get greater and ultimately detailed asteroids will probably be seen.

Last week, DART additionally ejected a digital camera referred to as the Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging Asteroids (LICIACube). This will fly previous Dimorphos about three minutes after the impression, capturing high-resolution photos of the crash web site, together with the ensuing plume of asteroid materials and presumably the newly fashioned impression crater.

How to observe

The DART spacecraft is about to impression the Dimorphos asteroid at 7:14 p.m. ET (4:14 p.m. PT) on Monday, September 26.

NASA is providing two feeds of the occasion. The first, embedded on the prime of this web page, gives essentially the most up-to-date DRACO digital camera feed and begins at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT). The second feed, which might be discovered on this web page, gives related protection and begins half an hour earlier at 5:30 p.m. ET (2:30 p.m. PT).

NASA mentioned that after impression, the feed will flip black because of a loss sign. Then, after about two minutes, the stream will present a replay exhibiting the ultimate moments main as much as impression.

At 8 p.m. NASA will livestream a press briefing discussing the mission.

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