NASA’s DART Spacecraft to Crash Into Asteroid Tonight in Planetary Defense Test

An uncrewed spacecraft is on track to smash into and deflect a distant asteroid on Monday, the dramatic climax of a National Aeronautics and Space Administration mission to test whether the technique could one day be used to protect Earth.

“For the first time ever we will measurably change the orbit of a celestial body in the universe,” said Bobby Braun, head of the space exploration sector at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. The research center built the Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission spacecraft and is responsible for its operation at the direction of NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office.