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Here's Why NASA Is Crashing A Spacecraft Into An Asteroid (And Where To Watch It Happen)

A computer generated image of a spacecraft with two large wing-like extensions headed toward a pair of asteroids floating in space.
llustration of NASA’s DART spacecraft and the Italian Space Agency’s (ASI) LICIACube prior to impact at the Didymos binary system.
(Courtesy NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben)
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Heads up! A celestial collision is set to happen Monday, when a NASA spacecraft carries out its test mission to nudge an asteroid hurtling through space.

Its purpose is to alter the path of any future asteroid that might be on a course to strike Earth.

"NASA is not aware of any threatening asteroids to date, but we keep on looking, and the key is finding them before they find us," said Marina Brozovic, a physicist and asteroid specialist at JPL.

That's the aim of the mission, known as DART, or Double Asteroid Redirection Test.

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"This is the very first demonstration of this planetary defense technology because we need to start doing it," Brozovic said.

We spoke with her ahead of the summer opening of an IMAX movie about asteroids in which she appears.

DART is scheduled to impact its target asteroid, Dimorphos, at 4:14 p.m. on Sept. 26.

You can watch on NASA TV or the agency's social media accounts.

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