NASA spacecraft will smash into an asteroid at 15,000 mph

A NASA spacecraft that has spent the better part of a year prepped to smash into its target asteroid will finally do so Monday at nearly 15,000 mph, the agency said in a release.

Next week’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, also known as DART, is slated for 7:14 p.m. ET Monday and will serve as “the world’s first mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards.”

Dimorphos, the asteroid that the spacecraft is targeting, is 525 feet wide and “poses no threat to Earth,” according to NASA.

“The test will show a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and intentionally collide with it to change the asteroid’s motion in a way that can be measured using ground-based telescopes,” NASA said in the release, noting the test “will provide important data to help better prepare for an asteroid that might pose an impact hazard to Earth, should one ever be discovered.”

Those interested in witnessing the historic moment — or a portion of it — can watch NASA’s briefing live Monday at 6 p.m. ET, available for the public on NASA’s Facebook, Twitterand YouTube.

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