NASA Dart: times, TV and how to watch and stream online
The test flight will launch a satellite into an asteroid, on purpose, to test how to deflect space debris.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is scheduled to launch at 01:20 a.m. EST and 10:20 PT on Wednesday, November 24 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
The test is to learn how to better protect Earth from asteroids, and to do so by firing the rocket into the asteroid Didymos.
“What we are trying to learn is how to deflect a threat that would come in,” said NASA’s Thomas Zurbuchen in a press conference on 22 November. “Rest assured, that rock right now is not a threat and it will not be a threat after.”
The craft that will strike the asteroid is a mere 500 grams at a speed of 6.6 kilometers a second. It has a sister craft, the Light Italian Cubesat for Imaging of Asteroids (LICIACube), which will detach before impact to document the encounter. It is predicted that the asteroid's orbit of Earth will be reduced by 10 minutes, proving that if needed, something could be launched at a much more dangerous asteroid to prevent it hitting our planet.
“It doesn’t take a lot, but when we’re looking at what [it would take] to deflect an asteroid away from the Earth, given enough time you can do big things with small vehicles,” said Ed Reynolds, DART project manager at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, during the press conference.
How can the mission be viewed?
It will take until October next year before the rocket meets its target, so it is unlikely the YouTube stream will be nearly a year long.