Nasa prepares to crash spacecraft into asteroid in ‘planetary defense test’ – live

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Space agency conducts Dart mission to learn whether asteroid’s trajectory can be diverted away from Earth

Here’s a few more details from Nasa about the target of tonight’s “planetary defense test”, the 525ft (160 metre) diameter Dimorphos.

It’s length is about the same of 1.5 football fields, and is the smaller of two asteroids in a double-asteroid system that the agency deems perfect for the mission. Dimorphos orbits the larger asteroid, Didymos (Greek for “twin”), every 11hr 55min.

Neither asteroid poses a threat to our planet, which is one reason why this asteroid system is the ideal place to test asteroid redirection techniques.

At the time of Dart’s impact, the asteroid pair will be 6.8m miles (11m km) away from Earth as they travel on their orbit around the Sun.

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