NASA wants you to watch it fly a spacecraft into an asteroid

It’s the first test of a planetary defense system

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is the world’s first planetary defense test, and the public has been invited to watch it all go down. With a mission statement seemingly pulled straight from science fiction, it’s sure to be an awesome moment for scientists and viewers at home alike.

In a recent press release, NASA said the mission to “test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards, will impact its target asteroid—which poses no threat to Earth—at 7:14 p.m. EDT on Monday, Sept. 26.”

For viewers at home, there’s a full schedule of media moments planned ahead.

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NASA will first host a hybrid media day at 9 a.m. on Sept. 12 to discuss the technology that makes the DART mission possible. On Thursday, Sept. 22, the organization will hold a media briefing at NASA headquarters to preview the mission’s final activities before its impact with the asteroid Dimorphos.

On the day of the impact, Sept. 26, NASA will air live coverage of the event on NASA TV, the agency’s website and NASA’s various social media accounts. While the coverage will begin at 6 p.m., the spacecraft is expected to collide at precisely 7:14 p.m.

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The DART SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched in November of last year from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

“DART is turning science fiction into science fact and is a testament to NASA’s proactivity and innovation for the benefit of all,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a press release last year. “In addition to all the ways NASA studies our universe and our home planet, we’re also working to protect that home, and this test will help prove out one viable way to protect our planet from a hazardous asteroid should one ever be discovered that is headed toward Earth.”