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NASA launches asteroid-ramming probe

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US space agency NASA launched a satellite early Wednesday that will be steered directly into an asteroid to alter its course, in the first mission of its kind. The planetary defence probe, powered by a Falcon 9 rocket made by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, took off at 10:21 pm Pacific time (0621 GMT) from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. “Asteroid Dimorphos: we’re coming for you!” the US space agency tweeted. The satellite – which NASA says is the size of a vending machine – is due to smash into the Dimorphos asteroid in October next year, in what has been dubbed the Double Asteroid Redirection…

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