The U.S. space agency NASA has launched a spacecraft on a mission to test the ability to knock an asteroid off a potentially harmful collision course with Earth.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, will take 10 months to reach the asteroid Dimorphos before slamming into it at 24,000 kilometers per hour.
Dimorphos does not pose any danger to Earth, but gives scientists a way to examine the concept of moving a potentially harmful object far enough and early enough off its course so that it flies past Earth.
The DART spacecraft is about the size of a small car and carries a briefcase-sized craft that will be deployed shortly before the impact to record video of the event.
NASA says the mission costs about $330 million.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.