If you reside in California or the southwest United States, you is likely to be in for a launch present Tuesday night time (Nov. 23) native time.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is scheduled to launch no sooner than 10:20 p.m. PST (1:20 a.m. EST, or 0620 GMT on Nov. 24), on a quest to barely alter the trail of an asteroid moonlet to check planetary defense applied sciences. (Happily, there aren’t any impending asteroid threats, however NASA nonetheless desires the follow for future-proofing.)
Practically talking, below darkish and clear sky situations, Californians and maybe these as far south as Las Vegas might get to see the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rise from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. If all goes in accordance with plan, DART will rendezvous with its asteroid goal in fall 2022.
“DART will launch on a southerly trajectory and, with clear weather, should be visible from the Southern California coast,” NASA launch director Tim Dunn informed Space.com
Related: NASA’s DART asteroid-impact mission explained in pictures
“I’ll … give folks in the southwest USA and northwest Mexico a heads up that if our crack mission design lead’s estimates are correct, the launch should be visible,” Andy Rivkin, DART investigation co-lead on the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, wrote on Twitter Saturday (Nov. 20). “People as far as Vegas have seen launches in the past,” Rivkin added. “I’ll keep you posted.”
Viewing situations will likely be sophisticated by the coronavirus pandemic, which does not permit for straightforward gathering in teams as a result of social distancing. There will not be as many public viewing websites out there, due to this fact, as when the NASA InSight mission launched from Vandenberg in 2018.
The rugged terrain of southern California additionally signifies that the coast tends to be susceptible to fog and chilly, so ensure that to decorate warmly and to drive rigorously if you happen to occur to be commuting away out of your residence.
If you may’t catch the launch in particular person, there are nonetheless online options out there via NASA and Space.com. The company plans a stay launch stream and also will have a number of social occasions taking place for a digital close-up view of launch preparations.
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.