YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – What started last November with a Space-X launch in California could come to fruition Monday evening as NASA engineers intentionally crash a satellite into an asteroid named Dimorphos, which is orbiting another larger space rock known as Didymos. All 7 million miles from earth.
The project is called DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test). Engineers insist neither is close enough to put Earth in danger, Curt Spivey, with YSU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy said if the test is successful, it could mean there is a way to prevent much larger asteroids from hitting us and causing massive destruction.
“The reason they are hitting that is they want to see how much they can deflect the orbit around Didymos,” Spivey said. “This is something that has been speculated for many years, but now we’re going to see if this is a plausible way to protect Earth.”
Over the years, Hollywood has used the premise of an asteroid or meteor threatening the earth for some of its movies, but Spivey said there’s a lot of science behind the project. He said the solar system is littered with all manner of space junk and most of those coming close enough to Earth burn up in our atmosphere.
“These things go by us all the time. We get comets coming by. They’re very pretty, but they can be very bad if they hit Earth,” he said.
And as technology has improved to allow NASA to schedule a mission like this, it will also allow us to watch it in real-time.
NASA will live stream the spacecraft collision with asteroid Dimorphos live. That stream will be available on NASA’s NASA Live web stream. It will also stream live on NASA’s YouTube channel. The live coverage is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. EDT and goes until 7:30 p.m. EDT. The time of impact is currently scheduled for 7:14 p.m. The DART mission page also has information and resources for planning a watch party for the event.