Liftoff! NASA launches its first ever 'planetary defense' mission as DART spacecraft is sent on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to deliberately crash into an asteroid at 15,000 mph | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Liftoff! NASA launches its first ever 'planetary defense' mission as DART spacecraft is sent on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to deliberately crash into an asteroid at 15,000 mph

NASA's first ever 'planetary defence' mission to deflect an asteroid 6.8 million miles from Earth has launched this morning.

The US space agency tweeted the news, writing: 'And… liftoff! The #DARTMission is now on a nearly one-year journey to crash into a distant asteroid as the world's first planetary defense test mission.'

Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), a box-shaped space probe, launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 06:21 GMT on Wednesday (22:21 PST Tuesday) from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, about 150 miles (240km) north-west of Los Angeles.

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