NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft is about to collide with the asteroid Dimorphos, and you’ll have plenty of ways to watch it live. Starting at 6 p.m.
Eastern, the space agency will livestream coverage of the DART collision, with either a full presentation or a dedicated stream from the craft’s DRACO (Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical Navigation) instrument.
That final feed will show one image every second until the impact. The vehicle is expected to collide with Dimorphos at around 7:14PM, though its distance from Earth will cause the footage to be delayed.
You, too, are not bound by official sources. Starting at 6:30 p.m. ET, the Virtual Telescope Project will host its own stream. It’s collaborating with two South African observatories to provide an Earth-bound perspective on the collision.
The Didymos asteroid system (of which Dimorphos is a moonlet) will be a dot at first, but it should flare up after DART makes contact.
DART will assess the feasibility of using spacecraft to deflect asteroids, comets, and other objects that would otherwise collide with Earth.
If everything goes as planned, it will demonstrate that NASA can use autonomous vehicles as defensive systems and confirm the results with ground telescopes.
Dimorphos is an ideal candidate due to its proximity and lack of threats — NASA will not inadvertently cause the calamity it is attempting to avoid.
This will not be the only mission to the Didymos system. The European Space Agency’s Hera mission is scheduled to arrive on Didymos in 2026 to study DART’s effects on Dimorphos. If any questions remain after tonight’s one-way flight, they should be answered within the next few years.