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In a first test of its planetary defense efforts, NASA's going to shove an asteroid

Added 11-22-21 06:07:01am EST - “NASA is about to launch the first mission of its new planetary defense office. A spacecraft will attempt to knock a small asteroid off course by ramming into it.” - Npr.org

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Npr.org: “In a first test of its planetary defense efforts, NASA's going to shove an asteroid”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

An illustration of the DART spacecraft approaching two asteroids; it will crash into the smaller one to try to change how this space rock orbits its larger companion. NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben hide caption

An illustration of the DART spacecraft approaching two asteroids; it will crash into the smaller one to try to change how this space rock orbits its larger companion.

In the first real-world test of a technique that could someday be used to protect Earth from a threatening space rock, a spacecraft is scheduled to blast off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Tuesday, November 23 at 10:20 pm PST.

The golf-cart-sized spacecraft will travel to an asteroid that's over 6 million miles away — and poses no danger to Earth — and ram into it. Scientists will then watch to see how the asteroid's trajectory changes.

NASA has identified and tracked almost all of the nearby asteroids of a size that would cause world-altering damage if they ever struck Earth. For the foreseeable future, none that big are headed our way. But there are plenty of smaller asteroids, the size that could take out a city, that still haven't been found and tracked.

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