Sixty-five million years ago, an asteroid struck Earth. Today, NASA strikes back.
At 7:14 pm EDT, the DART spacecraft will intentionally collide with asteroid Dimorphos in a test to see if human tech can change an asteroid’s trajectory.
The technique could be used in the future to divert dangerous space rocks.
Monday, Sept. 26 (DART Impact Day) Schedule
6 p.m. EDT – Live coverage of DART’s impact with the asteroid Dimorphos will air on NASA TV and the agency’s website. The public also can watch live on agency social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
7:14 p.m. EDT – DART’s kinetic impact with asteroid Dimorphos.
8 p.m. EDT – Media briefing at Johns Hopkins APL to hear from mission experts immediately following DART’s successful impact with asteroid Dimorphos.
Will it fail or succeed? Live coverage begins at 5:30 pm EDT on NASA TV.
If you want you can also follow LIVE the images acquired by DRACO before the kinetic impact here (read below for more information):
If you want this guy is already broadcasting it live! Impact at 7:14 pm EDT!
What is DART?
NASA’s first flight mission for planetary defense, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) seeks to test and validate a method to protect Earth in case of an asteroid impact threat.
The DART mission aims to shift an asteroid’s orbit through kinetic impact – specifically, by smashing a spacecraft into the smaller member of the binary asteroid system Didymos.
DART is a low-cost spacecraft. The main structure of the spacecraft is a box with dimensions of roughly 1.2 × 1.3 × 1.3 meters (3.9 × 4.3 × 4.3 feet), from which other structures extend to result in measurements of roughly 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) in width, 1.9 meters (6.2 feet) in length, and 2.6 meters (8.5 feet) in height. The spacecraft has two very large solar arrays that when fully deployed are each 8.5 meters (27.9 feet) long.
DART will navigate to crash itself into Dimorphos at a speed of approximately 6.1 kilometers (3.8 miles) per second. The total mass of the DART spacecraft was approximately 1,345 pounds (610 kilograms) at launch and will be roughly 1260 pounds (570 kilograms) at impact.
DART carries both hydrazine propellant (about 110 pounds, or 50 kilograms) for spacecraft maneuvers and attitude control, and xenon (about 130 pounds, or 60 kilograms) to operate the ion propulsion technology demonstration engine.
Get ready! You should always have your emergency kit ready…
The DART payload consists of a single instrument, the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO).
DRACO is a high-resolution imager derived from the New Horizons LORRI camera to support navigation and targeting, to measure the size and shape of the asteroid target, and to determine the impact site and geologic context.
DRACO is a narrow-angle telescope with a 208-millimeter aperture and field of view of 0.29 degrees. It has a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) detector and sophisticated onboard image processor to determine the relative location of Dimorphos and support SMART Nav.
The images acquired by DRACO before the kinetic impact will be streamed back to Earth in real time. In its final moments, DRACO will help characterize the impact site by providing high-resolution, scientific images of the surface of Dimorphos.
DART will also carry a CubeSat contributed by Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), named LICIACube (Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging of Asteroids). The DART spacecraft deployed LICIACube 15 days prior to the DART impact on Dimorphos.
LICIACube will capture images of the DART impact, the resulting ejecta cloud, and potentially a glimpse of the impact crater on the surface of Dimorphos.
LICIACube has two instruments: LEIA (LICIACube Explorer Imaging for Asteroid), a narrow field panchromatic camera to acquire images from long distance with a high spatial resolution and LUKE (LICIACube Unit Key Explorer), a wide field RGB camera, allowing a multicolor analysis of the asteroidal environment. [DART]