NASA launched its DART mission which will intentionally crash a spacecraft into an asteroid to test if it is possible to change the trajectory.

ANU astrophysicist and cosmologist Dr Brad Tucker says it is “really possible” the rocket can change the direction of the asteroid.

“I think it actually is really possible, I think that’s the amazing thing that giving it a big nudge – even though it actually won’t result in a big nudge because we’re talking about something that’s still 160 metres weighing a couple of trillion kilograms,” he told Sky News Australia.

“We only need a small nudge though and I think that’s the thing, if you’re just able to prove that we can alter the asteroid just a little bit.”

Dr Tucker said if a rocket is able to get to an asteroid “early enough” and move it, it could move it enough for it to not just miss Earth but go past it “hundreds of thousands if not a million of kilometres away”.

“That’s the goal here, can we just show we can do it when we kind of know by how much, how early, and how big of an asteroid we can do it on,” he said.

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