NASA Spacecraft Set To Crash Into Asteroid In Defense Test

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NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft will crash into an asteroid on Monday as part of an experiment to see how difficult it would be to deviate an earth-bound sizeable space rock to prevent it from hitting the planet.

At 7:14 p.m. ET on Monday, DART will intentionally crash into Dimorphos, the asteroid moonlet of Didymos, to slightly change its motion in space.

The demonstration, which is taking place about 11 million kilometers away, poses no threat to Earth, NASA says.

This is the world's first test of the kinetic impact technique, using a spacecraft, for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards.

This test will show a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and intentionally collide with it to change the asteroid's motion in a way that can be measured using ground-based telescopes. DART will provide important data to help better prepare for an asteroid that might pose an impact hazard to Earth, should one ever be discovered.

The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, manages the DART mission for NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office as a project of the agency's Planetary Missions Program Office.

Live coverage of DART's impact with the asteroid Dimorphos will start on NASA TV and the U.S. space agency's website at 6 p.m. ET. The public also can watch it live on NASA's social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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