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NASA will launch its mission to ward an asteroid from hitting Earth in November, agency says

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NASA said Monday that its mission to deflect an asteroid into deep space using a spacecraft is targeting a launch in late November.

Known as the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, the US space agency will send the DART spacecraft to a pair of asteroids — Didymos’ binary — at 1:20 a.m. EST on Nov. 24 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9- rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

DART will impact one of the two asteroids known as Didymoon on October 2, 2022 at about 13,500 mph.

By doing so, it will change Didymoon’s speed by a fraction of a percent, but it will be enough for NASA to measure its altered orbit.

NASA said Monday its mission to deflect an asteroid into deep space using a spacecraft is targeting a launch in late November.

This will provide valuable input for future missions to deflect asteroids.

At about 160 meters (524 feet) wide, Didymoon revolves around a much larger space rock known as Didymos which is about 780 meters (2,559 feet) wide.

Didymoon came relatively close to Earth in 2003, within a radius of 3.7 million miles.

The DART spacecraft will embark on November 24 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket toward Didymos' binary (pictured).  At about 160 meters (524 feet) wide, Didymoon revolves around the much Didymos, which is about 780 meters (2,559 feet) wide

The DART spacecraft will embark on November 24 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket toward Didymos’ binary (pictured). At about 160 meters (524 feet) wide, Didymoon revolves around the much Didymos, which is about 780 meters (2,559 feet) wide

Didymoon came relatively close to Earth in 2003, within a radius of 3.7 million miles.  These 14 photos of Didymos and his moon were taken on November 23, 24 and 26, 2003

Didymoon came relatively close to Earth in 2003, within a radius of 3.7 million miles. These 14 photos of Didymos and his moon were taken on November 23, 24 and 26, 2003

Of the two asteroids, Didymoon is more likely to hit Earth, as there are more space rocks so large that NASA and the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) have not yet observed.

“DART will be the first demonstration of the kinetic impactor technique, sending one or more large, high-speed craft into the path of an asteroid in space to alter its motion,” NASA said in a statement.

On October 1, NASA said the cube satellite that will accompany DART was ready for installation

On October 1, NASA said the cube satellite that will accompany DART was ready for installation

NASA considers any object near Earth “potentially dangerous” if it comes within 0.05 astronomical units (4.6 million miles) and is more than 460 feet in diameter.

According to the US space agency, there are just over 25,000 NEOs, but many more are waiting to be discovered.

There are just over 25,000 near-Earth objects, according to NASA, but many more are waiting to be discovered

There are just over 25,000 near-Earth objects, according to NASA, but many more are waiting to be discovered

On October 1, NASA said the cube satellite (CubeSat) that will accompany DART was ready for installation.

The CubeSat weighs 31 pounds and measures “about the length of an adult’s hand and forearm,” the agency said.

DART (pictured) is the first part of NASA's asteroid defense strategy, designed in conjunction with the European Space Agency to protect Earth from a potential impact from a 'dangerous asteroid'

DART (pictured) is the first part of NASA’s asteroid defense strategy, designed in conjunction with the European Space Agency to protect Earth from a potential impact from a ‘dangerous asteroid’

DART is the first part of NASA’s asteroid defense strategy, designed in conjunction with the European Space Agency to protect Earth from a potential impact from a “dangerous asteroid.”

“Planetary defense is really about the current solar system and what are we going to do in the present,” Dr. Nancy Chabot, project scientist for DART, previously to DailyMail.com.

“DART is not the definitive answer, but rather the first important step in protecting Earth from an asteroid impact.

“Finding, tracking and characterizing the asteroids that pose potential impact risks to Earth are critical to all planetary defense efforts.”

The mission is managed by NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office and the Planetary Science Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.

In August, a study by researchers in California said it would take several bumps to change the course of an asteroid like Bennu.

NASA has previously said that Bennu has a one in 1,750 chance of hitting Earth in the next 300 years.

Explained: the difference between an asteroid, meteorite and other space rocks

An asteroid is a large piece of rock left over from collisions or the early solar system. Most are located between Mars and Jupiter in the Main Belt.

AN comet is a rock covered with ice, methane and other compounds. Their orbits take them much further out of the solar system.

AN meteor is what astronomers call a flash of light in the atmosphere when debris burns up.

This debris itself is known as a meteoroid. Most are so small that they evaporate into the atmosphere.

When one of these meteoroids reaches Earth, it becomes a . called meteorite.

Meteors, meteoroids and meteorites normally originate from asteroids and comets.

For example, if Earth passes through the tail of a comet, much of the debris in the atmosphere burns up, forming a meteor shower.

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