Washington: NASA will launch on November 24 the first spacecraft designed to collide with an asteroid and help test the technologies preventing space catastrophes.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is set to hit the smaller asteroid of the two-asteroid system Didymos and change its trajectory through kinetic impact.
The diameter of the smaller asteroid, known as Dimporphos, is about 160 meters (530 feet) while the larger is about 780 meters; they pose no threat to Earth. The size of the DART is hundreds of times smaller than Dimorphos and will hit it at the speed of 24,000 kilometres per hour (14,900 miles per hour).
However, the collision is planned not to fully destroy the asteroid, but to slightly change its orbit, within one degree, according to the DART coordination lead, Nancy Chabot.
The DART will be launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in the US state of California.