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NASA launches spacecraft to kick an asteroid off course

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Washington (AFP) – NASA is preparing a mission to deliberately smash a spacecraft into an asteroid — a test run should humanity ever need to stop a giant space rock from wiping out life on Earth. It may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) is a real proof-of-concept experiment, blasting off at 10:21 pm Pacific Time Tuesday (0621 GMT Wednesday) aboard a SpaceX rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. “All systems and weather are looking good for tonight’s Falcon 9 launch,” Elon Musk’s company tweeted. The goal is to slightly alt…

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