NASA is about to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid. Here’s why the mission could one day save humanity

More than 6.5 million miles away from Earth, a cosmic collision is imminent.

In a first-of-its-kind maneuver, a NASA spacecraft is set to intentionally smash into an asteroid to test whether deflecting a space rock could one day protect Earth from a potentially catastrophic impact.

The crash is planned for 7:14 p.m. ET Monday. Live coverage will air on NASA TV beginning at 6 p.m. ET.