New Delhi: Tuesday will be a massive day for science buffs as they will witness the mega moment and first-of-its kind, save-the-world experiment by NASA. The US science agency’s spacecraft is about to clobber a small, harmless asteroid millions of miles away. A spacecraft named Dart will zero in on the asteroid with an intent on slamming it head-on at 14,000 mph (22,500 kph). “This is stuff of science-fiction books and really corny episodes of ‘StarTrek’ from when I was a kid, and now it’s real,” NASA program scientist Tom Statler said.Also Read – NASA Calls Off Artemis I Rocket Launch To Moon On Sept 27 Due To Tropical Storm
DART BRACING FOR THE IMPACT
Dart – the NASA’s spacecraft – will crash head on into the asteroid, which is believed to be as big as a footfall stadium in size – at 14,000 mph (22,500 kph). The impact should be just enough to nudge the asteroid into a slightly tighter orbit around its companion space rock — demonstrating that if a killer asteroid ever heads our way, we would stand a fighting chance of diverting it, according to a report by The Associated Press.
NASA’S ASTEROID TARGET – WHAT WILL HAPPEN DURING THE CRASH
The asteroid with the bull’s-eye on it is Dimorphos, about 7 million miles (9.6 million kilometers) from Earth. It is actually the puny sidekick of a 2,500-foot (780-meter) asteroid named Didymos, Greek for twin. Discovered in 1996, Didymos is spinning so fast that scientists believe it flung off material that eventually formed a moonlet. Dimorphos — roughly 525 feet (160 meters) across — orbits its parent body at a distance of less than a mile (1.2 kilometers).
“This really is about asteroid deflection, not disruption,” said Nancy Chabot, a planetary scientist and mission team leader at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, which is managing the effort. “This isn’t going to blow up the asteroid. It isn’t going to put it into lots of pieces.”
NASA SPACECRAFT TO CRASH INTO ASTEROID – WHERE TO WATCH
The mega event when the NASA spacecraft dart will crash into the asteroid can be watched live. The NASA is streaming the event on its official YouTube channel. The NASA’s asteroid crash event will begin at 7:14 pm Eastern time (IST – 4.44 am on Tuesday). The space enthusiasts in India can start streaming the event at 4.44 am on Tuesday (September 27).