For the first time on Tuesday night, a probe from the US space agency Nasa is to intentionally steer into an asteroid and thereby change its trajectory. Follow the mission live.

The unmanned probe of the “Dart” (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission was launched in November using a “Falcon 9” rocket from the US state of California and is to be guided into the asteroid Dimorphos. From the approximately 330 million dollar mission, Nasa hopes to find out how the earth could be protected from approaching asteroids. Nasa is streaming the probe’s arrival on Dimorphus through its website and on YouTube.

In November 2021, the “Falcon 9” rocket was launched and shot the DART probe into space. Since then she has been on the journey to Dimorphus. The test is to take place on Tuesday night, at 01.07 German time. Follow the mission live here:

00:54: In the Nasa live stream of the mission you can now see the small asteroid Dimorphos in orbit around the larger Didymos. So the “Dart” probe is now close to impact.

00:49: If the “Dart” probe collides with the asteroid, we won’t be able to see anything. Rather, the camera image will freeze with the image of the small asteroid Dimorphos, which gets larger as the spacecraft gets closer. The final image, taken about two and a half seconds before impact, with the asteroid’s surface filling the camera’s field of view, is the last we’ll see of Dimorphos Monday night.

However, it will not be the last image of the mission. Behind “Dart” follows a tiny unmanned spacecraft called “Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging of Asteroids” (“LICIACube” for short). This LICIACube accompanied Dart for the first nine months of the mission, and then embarked on a slightly shifted trajectory so it will miss Dimophos but can provide imagery.

The LICIACube will capture images of the sinking of DART and the resulting crater. But because it’s so small — its antenna is small, too — it’s slow to send data to NASA’s Deep Space Network radio dishes via a weak radio signal. It will probably take a day or two before the first images of the LICIACube are available.

Tuesday, September 27, 12:35 a.m.: About half an hour until impact. Dart’s camera was able to spot Dimorphos, a small asteroid in orbit around a larger asteroid, for the first time. “Dart” has been running on its own for almost three hours now. Nasa engineers are monitoring the mission and can intervene if anything goes wrong before impact.