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NASA probe ready to slam into an asteroid this month in landmark planetary defense test

In two weeks, NASA will open a new era for the solar system.

The milestone comes courtesy of the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, which launched just last fall. On Sept. 26, DART will slam headfirst into a small asteroid, the rare case when a spacecraft’s destruction is the desired outcome. The mission is in the name of planetary defense, which seeks to protect Earth from any potential asteroid impacts; scientists hope that should a dangerous asteroid threaten the planet in the future, a mission like DART could avert the disaster.

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