Remember the old arcade game “Asteroids”? So do scientists at NASA and the ESA, who are planning to play it for real, per the Independent:
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Scientists are to send two spacecraft to knock an asteroid off course, as part of a practice for what they would do if a rock was threatening the future of humanity.
The joint US-European Aida (Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment) mission will send a small spacecraft to crash into the egg-shaped rock, known as Didymoon. That asteroid doesn’t pose any threat to us — and is far too small to do so — but the mission will be important test for whether our plans would work if we do eventually come at risk of civilisation being wiped out by a space rock.
The missions are set to be launched in October 2020.