NASA is about to launch a spacecraft with a daring mission: To crash into an asteroid, in order to test our planetary defense options. The mission, dubbed DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test), will head toward a pair of asteroids called Didymos and Dimorphos and will crash into the smaller one in an attempt to knock it off-course. Don’t worry — the asteroid pair doesn’t actually threaten Earth — but this test will demonstrate what defense options Earth might have if an incoming body threatened our planet.
The launch of DART is scheduled for 1:20 a.m. ET on Wednesday, November 24 (10:20 p.m. PT on Tuesday, November 23) and will be livestreamed by NASA. We’ve got all the details on how to watch the launch as it happens.
DART will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. It will travel through space until arriving at the double asteroid system in fall 2022 and beginning its collision test.
How to watch the DART launch
To watch the launch live, you can tune into the NASA TV channel either by using the video embedded at the top of this page or by heading to NASA’s website.
Coverage of the launch begins at 12:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, November 24 (9:30 p.m. PT on Tuesday, November 23), showing prelaunch activities as well as the launch itself.
If you’d like to learn more about the DART mission, there are also two news conferences coming up this week: One today, Sunday, November 11, and one on Monday. On Sunday at 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT) there is a DART investigation and engineering briefing, while on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT) there is a DART prelaunch news conference.
Finally, there is also a NASA Science Live event all about the DART mission featuring Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate’s Planetary Science Division, Nancy Chabot, DART coordination lead, and Joshua Ramirez Rodriguez, telecommunications subsystem integration and test lead engineer. This event will be shown on NASA on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. ET) and will include the opportunity for members of the public to submit questions during the stream.
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