Home / News / World /  NASA spacecraft will clash with asteroid as big as football stadium: How to watch

In order to demonstrate NASA's capability to defend Earth from deadly asteroids in the future, a robotic NASA spacecraft is scheduled to ram an asteroid in outer space on September 26 at a speed of 25,500 kilometres per hour.

It's a quick action scene from a science fiction film. The DART spacecraft will initially detect Dimorphos, an asteroid the size of a football stadium, as a single pixel in its camera. If all goes according to plan, DART will strike its target an hour later with enough force to veer the large space rock just a little bit off course. Nearly 7 million kilometres from Earth, the scene will take place.

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Although Dimorphos does not pose a threat to Earth, the DART mission is the first actual test of planetary defence, one of NASA's fundamental ideas, in outer space.

In the event that scientists discover an asteroid that is huge and heavy enough to strike Earth with potentially-catastrophic repercussions, DART may prove to be a practical defence strategy if it is successful in diverting the asteroid from its route.

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Scientists have found the vast majority of the large asteroids that may destroy the globe, but none of them are now a threat. The other smaller asteroids, many of which are in close proximity to Earth and are around the same size as Dimorphos, also cause them anxiety. One of those may collide with Earth and cause more havoc than any nuclear weapon this world has ever tested.

Dimorphos is far larger than the DART spacecraft, which was created at Johns Hopkins University and launched in November 2021. It's comparable to discussing a golf cart colliding with a stadium in terms of scale. So, the whole thing is about a gentle prod.

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According to NASA, however, it will be all that is required to make things work. Because of this, if Earth were in the way of the enormous space rock, it would pass safely because the small shift in trajectory will increase many times over time and distance.

How to watch

DART is scheduled to collide with Dimorphos at 5:10 am on September 27, as per India time. Starting at 3:30 am, NASA will start airing coverage of this mission's conclusion. As the spacecraft approaches the asteroid, it will also stream pictures taken from it. At 3 o’clock in the morning (India time), the streaming will begin on NASA's YouTube channel. You may also watch it here:

(With agency inputs)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sounak Mukhopadhyay

Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and social media. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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