NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test live: DART mission is first step in planet’s defence

artist illustration of dart spacecraft crashing into dimorphos

NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) spacecraft is scheduled to collide with the asteroid Dimorphos at approximately 7.14 PM EDT on September 26 (4.44 AM IST on September 27). The mission will be the first to test a “kinetic impactor” method of planetary defence, which involves changing the trajectory of asteroids that threaten Earth by crashing a high-speed spacecraft into it.

Data obtained from DART’s crash will be compared to the data from various computer simulations run by scientists to ascertain whether this kinetic impactor method will remain a viable option in case of an actual threatening asteroid. Scientists don’t yet know the exact mass of Dimorphos but it is estimated to be around five billion kilograms. The DART spacecraft weighs around 600 kilograms.

NASA’s livestream of the DART mission will start at 6 PM EDT on September 26 (3.30 AM IST on September 27. You can watch it on NASA TV, NASA’s mobile app, its YouTube channel or through the window above. You can read live updates below.

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