NASA is set to smash a multi-million dollar satellite into an asteroid in the name of science on Monday evening.
The Dart spacecraft will hit the small asteroid that is seven million miles from Earth at around 14,000 miles per hour.
Despite the incredible speed, scientists predict the impact will only create a crater tens of metres wide.
The size of a small vending machine at 1,570kg, the spacecraft will slam into roughly five billion kilograms of asteroid and hopefully slightly change its orbits of a neighbouring much larger asteroid.
Should the mission be a success NASA hopes to shave ten minutes off Dimorphos's (the target asteroid) 11-hour and 55-minute orbit of the much larger Didymos.
The test is being used to demonstrate that if a dangerous asteroid ever threatens Earth, humanity would stand a chance of preventing its impact.Due to its relatively small predicted impact on Dimorphos's orbit should the same technique be used to direct an asteroid away from Earth the satellite would need to be launched 10-20 years in advance of the predicted collision date.
The project was launched last autumn and cost around £300 million.For all its notions of the first test of its kind and sci-fi tropes, Dart is a fairly low-tech satellite.
Dart (short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test) is essentially a battering ram with a camera attached.
When and how can you watch Dart hit the asteroid?
NASA says it will start livestreaming Dart's collision course with the asteroid from 6pm (ET) - 11pm (GMT) in the UK.
It predicts the satellite will hit the asteroid at around 7.14pm (ET) - 12.14am (GMT) in the UK.
Watch Dart hit the asteroid in NASA's official livestream here
NASA predicts there will be around a 90% chance of the mission being a success.
Regardless of if Dart hits its intended target mission experts will give their immediate thoughts on the impact at around 8pm eastern, 1am UK time.
Although it will be clear within hours if the mission has been successful in hitting its target, it will likely take weeks to assess if the impact has altered the orbit of the asteroid.
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