NASA is planning to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid. Here's why

NASA will complete the world’s first full-scale planetary defence mission. Image: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben

Svetla Ben-Itzhak

Assistant Professor of Space and International Relations, Air University


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Millions of cosmic bodies, like asteroids and comets, orbit the Sun and often crash into the Earth. Image: NASA/JPL

The likely next asteroid of substantial size to potentially hit Earth is asteroid 2005 ED224. Image: NASA/JPL

This crater near Flagstaff, Arizona, was created when an asteroid estimated to be 160 feet (50 meters) across crashed into Earth around 50,000 years ago. Image: USGS/D. Roddy via Wikimedia Commons

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