Today, at 1 p.m. ET, NASA is going to send a decommissioned Marine helicopter hurtling to the ground — you know, for science. Decked out in what appears to be snow leopard print, the helicopter will crash to earth in hopes that future, manned whirlybird missions will be more survivable should the worst happen.
As well as a full compliment of crash test dummies, the former CH-46 Sea Knight will be outfitted with a Kinect sensor. Mounted in the helicopter's interior, the Kinect will gather data about the movements of the dummies as they come to terms with gravity.
Outside, high speed cameras will capture the helicopter's descent at 500 fps, which is incidentally the reason for the fashionably-questionable paint job. Data from the high-speed cameras and the Kinect sensor will be compiled to reconstruct the crash after the fact, enabling NASA researchers to understand just how the chopper bends and snaps as it strikes ground. If you'd rather catch the crash the first time, the fun starts at 1 p.m. ET in the streaming video below.