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NASA to crash 13,500mph spacecraft into ASTEROID

The US space agency is working on the most fiery and crucial stage of its Double Asteroid Redirection Test, DART.

The experiment will be the latest in NASA’s mission to protect Earth from deadly asteroid strikes.

In 2021, it aims to fully test the new defence system by smashing a spaceship into a rock at 13,500mph (6 km per second).

Space experts are worried an asteroid could potentially smash into earth causing catastrophic damage.

Depending on the size of the rock, it could cause a mass extinction event – like the type that wiped out dinosaurs – by sparking a mini ice age.

The asteroid that NASA aims to hit is not actually a threat to Earth, but by smashing into it, the DART crew will be able to see if a similar deflection would work on future asteroids.

In the test, a NASA craft will slam into its target – asteroid Didymos – to see whether it can successfully change the direction of the rock.

Didymos is approximately 800m across and has a secondary orbiting body – known as a “moonlet” – that is 150m in size.