The NASA DART mission will reach its climax on September 26 when a spacecraft will be smashed into an asteroid. Find out how to watch the collision livestream online and why it is important for the survival of Earth.
The threat of asteroids is not one to be taken lightly. These massive space rocks are perfectly capable of smashing into our planet and causing an extinction-level crisis, just like it happened with the dinosaurs. And scientists recognize this threat. That’s why for years, there have been ideas and concepts on how to fight back on the eventual day when a gargantuan asteroid heads directly towards the Earth. Solutions like nuclear weapons to destroy it and attaching rocket boosters to change its direction have been suggested and in theory, they offer varying degrees of success in specific circumstances. But there is one method that NASA believes can be fool-proof. And that is to smash a spacecraft into an asteroid and change its trajectory. On September 26, the NASA DART mission is going to be the first test of developing a similar anti-asteroid defense mechanism. And if you are an astronomy enthusiast, you cannot miss it. Read on to know how to watch the livestream online.
NASA DART mission to launch on September 26
NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test or DART mission is a unique asteroid defense mechanism as it does not rely on heavy explosions and their timing or attaching rocket boosters and hoping it would function remotely. It takes us back to the basics with the theory of momentum and speed. The idea is to take a spacecraft and hit the asteroid at the right angle with enough speed to make sure it bounces off towards another corner of space.
In this test, NASA is aiming to change the orbit of the Dimorphos asteroid by 1 percent. It is a 520-foot wide asteroid, just a little bigger than the Colosseum in Rome, so not even close to the size of the asteroid that took out the dinosaurs. But if even this asteroid made its way towards the Earth, it could destroy an entire city within seconds and much more over the next few days and even months.
Now here’s the good news. If you want to be a participant in this historic collision, then you are in luck. Even as the collision will take place seven million miles away, NASA has sent a smaller spacecraft with a camera that will record the entire event. The crash landing is going to take place on September 26 at 4:44 AM IST (7:14 PM ET). The livestream will begin at 3:30 AM IST (6 PM ET). To watch it, you can go to NASA’s official website, YouTube channel as well as Facebook and Twitter.