NASA is inviting the public to take part in virtual activities and events ahead of the launch of the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, a demonstration to determine if sending a large, high-speed spacecraft into the path of an asteroid in space could change its motion. DART’s target asteroid is not a threat to Earth.
The launch is scheduled for no earlier than 1:20 a.m. EST Wednesday, Nov. 24, (10:20 p.m. PST Tuesday, Nov. 23), on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
Members of the public can register to attend the launch virtually or RSVP to the Facebook event. NASA’s virtual guest program for this launch includes curated launch resources, a behind-the-scenes look at the mission, and a virtual guest passport stamp following a successful launch.
Live coverage begins on the agency’s website with the NASA EDGE: Live DART Show airing at noon Tuesday, Nov. 23 (9 a.m. PST) and will feature footage of the rocket going vertical at the launch pad.
The countdown commentary and launch broadcast will begin at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, (9:30 p.m. PST Tuesday, Nov. 23) and air on NASA Television and the agency’s website, as well as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion, Theta.TV and NASA’s App.
The spacecraft is designed to direct itself to impact an asteroid while traveling at a speed of roughly 15,000 miles per hour (24,000 kilometers per hour). Its target is the asteroid moonlet Dimorphos (Greek for “two forms”), which orbits a larger asteroid named Didymos (Greek for “twin”). In fall 2022, DART will impact Dimorphos to change its orbit within the Didymos binary asteroid system. The Didymos system is the ideal candidate for DART because it poses no actual impact threat to Earth, and scientists can measure the change in Dimorphos’ orbit with ground-based telescopes.
Members of the public also can share in the journey through a variety of activities, including:
Planetary Defenders campaign
To allow the public to share in the excitement of DART, NASA has launched the Planetary Defenders campaign. Participants can answer a short series of questions about planetary defense to earn their planetary defender certificate, which they can download or print, as well as a digital badge to share on social media using the hashtag #PlanetaryDefender.
NASA Science Live
On Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 1 p.m. PST / 4 p.m. EST, NASA Science Live will feature three experts to discuss the DART mission and the agency’s efforts in Planetary Defense. Members of the public are encouraged to participate by submitting questions in the comment section of the streams, or by using #AskNASA. This event will stream live on the agency’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels.
Watch and Engage on Social Media
Stay connected with the mission on social media and let people know you’re following the launch and missionon Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with #DARTMission. Follow and tag these accounts:
- Twitter: @NASA, @AsteroidWatch, @NASASolarSystem
- Facebook: NASA, NASA Solar System
- Instagram: NASA, @NASASolarSystem
Additional information about the DART mission can be found on the mission’s websites:
www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense/ and https://dart.jhuapl.edu