NASA will for the first time attempt to test if it can deflect an asteroid away from Earth.

The DART – Double Asteroid Redirection Test – spacecraft is scheduled to launch today from California and will slam into Dimorphos at a speed of 6.6 kilometres per second.

This marks the first time the planetary defence test has been used to alter the trajectory of an asteroid in space.

NASA hopes the system could one day be used to prevent a potential catastrophic collision into the planet.

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