NASA: Spacecraft launches to collide with an asteroid near Earth

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The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will launch its spacecraft for the first time to collide with an asteroid near Earth’s orbit in order to protect the world from asteroids.

After an asteroid passed undetected this week, NASA will launch the first spacecraft designed to collide with the asteroid on November 24 and test technology to avoid a potential collision.

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The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is set to smash two asteroid systems into the smaller Didymos asteroid and change its course by kinetic impact.

The smaller asteroid, known as Demimorphos, is about 160 meters in diameter, while the larger asteroid is about 780 meters in diameter.

The asteroid DART, which is hundreds of times smaller than the Dimorphos meteorite, will hit at 24,000 kilometers per hour.

However, the collision is not intended to completely destroy the asteroid, but to slightly alter its path within one degree according to DART coordination leader Nancy Chabot.

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DART will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, USA.