NASA’s DART spacecraft is en route to a collision course with asteroid Dimorphos, which is about 9.6 million kilometres from Earth.

The impact is scheduled for September 26, 2022, at 7:14 PM EDT. The DART mission is the first of its kind mission.

Dimorphos, which is currently orbiting around a bigger asteroid called Didymos, has no chance of colliding with the Earth as the rock is not currently on a path to hit the Earth, NASA said.

The threat of an asteroid strike is small, but it does exist, with chances perhaps 1 in 10,000. The chance of an impact depends on the size of the object.

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Scientists are on the constant lookout for asteroids in the Milky Way Galaxy and beyond that may pose a threat to Earth. Using big telescopes, NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies looks for asteroids and comets (called near earth objects, or NEOs) that “enter Earth’s neighborhood.”

According to NASA, asteroids the size of a small car hit Earth’s atmosphere about once a year, but they burn up in the atmosphere and explode well before they hit the ground.

Larger objects can fall to Earth’s surface as meteorites.

According to NASA, the probability of an asteroid capable of destroying a city striking Earth is 0.1% every year. If such an event occurs, there is a 70% chance it will land in the ocean, and a 25% chance it will land over a relatively unpopulated area. 

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The odds of a 5-10 kilometre wide asteroid, similar to the one that made the dinosaurs go extinct, hitting Earth is almost negligible at 0.000001%.

NASA’s DART Mission will be live-streamed Monday by the space agency and can be watched in real-time on the space agency’s official NASA TV.