It sounds like a new science-fiction blockbuster.
NASA is preparing to launch a satellite that will deliberately crash into an asteroid, aiming to alter its course in the first mission of its kind.
Watch the video above for more on this story
The space agency hopes the test, costing about $US330 million ($A457 million), will deliver insights into how to protect Earth from any approaching asteroids.
The planetary defence probe, powered by a Falcon 9 rocket made by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is set to take off on Wednesday from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
It is due to smash into the Dimorphos asteroid in October next year, in what has been dubbed the Double Asteroid Redirection Test.
Dimorphos, a moonlet whose diameter measures about 160 metres, does not pose a danger to Earth, according to NASA’s calculations.
The mission is designed to ensure that even after the impact, there would be no risk to the planet.
Scientists are not aware of any asteroids currently threatening Earth but have identified some 27,000 asteroids in our planet’s proximity, with some 10,000 of them measuring more than 140 metres in diameter.
– With AAP
Latest Travel News