VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — There's nothing like being prepared. That's why NASA is going to send a spacecraft crashing into a near-Earth asteroid.
Don't worry, it's intentional and the targeted asteroid called Didymos is currently more than 11 million miles away from the planet we call home.
But the nation's top space agency doesn't want to wait until an asteroid is a threat before testing out technology that could keep it from barreling toward Earth — sorry, dinosaurs.
DART, aka the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, is a "planetary defense-driven" evaluation of technologies that "could be used to prevent Earth from being hit by a hazardous asteroid in the future."
To do so, the mission will send a high-speed spacecraft into the asteroid's path in hopes of deflecting or steering it away and onto a different trajectory.
According to NASA, the spacecraft will travel at roughly 15,000 miles per hour before making contact with Didymos, which measures up to 780 meters in size. The asteroid also has a moonlet that reaches 160 meters in size.
The moonlet is "more typical of the size of asteroids that could pose the most likely significant threat to Earth," the mission's page reads.
Until the asteroid-fighting spacecraft's arrival, NASA says Didymos is being tracked through ground-based telescopes. The nation's top space agency projects it will take more than a year of cruising before the spacecraft will intercept the asteroid's moonlet.
DART will launch at 1:21 a.m. ET on Nov. 24 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. NASA will begin live coverage at 12:30 a.m. which you can watch here.