NASA's DART spacecraft hits target asteroid in test of planetary defense system

An illustration of NASA’s DART spacecraft and the Italian Space Agency’s (ASI) LICIACube prior to impact at the Didymos binary system. NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben/Handout via REUTERS

Sept 26 (Reuters) - Hurtling through the solar system at hypersonic speed on Monday, NASA's DART spacecraft slammed itself into a distant asteroid in a test of the world's first planetary defense system, designed to prevent a potential doomsday meteorite collision with Earth.

The finale to the suicide spaceflight, humanity's first attempt to alter the motion of an asteroid or any celestial body, played out in a NASA webcast from the mission operations center outside Washington, D.C., 10 months after DART was launched.

Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Sandra Maler

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