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Leading our news round up is news of a giant floating mat of grassy brown algae called Sargassum. It has grown from small patches in the Sargasso Sea and can now be seen from space. THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

This imagery from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows the debris blasted from the surface of Dimorphos 285 hours after NASA's DART spacecraft smashed into the asteroid's surface. NASA/ESA/STScI/Hubble hide caption

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NASA/ESA/STScI/Hubble

Astronomers still have their eyes on that asteroid NASA whacked

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Asteroid 2023 BU will streak about 2,200 miles above the Earth's surface on Thursday night. Its path is seen here in an image from NASA's Scout impact hazard assessment system. The moon's path is in gray. NASA/JPL-Caltech hide caption

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NASA/JPL-Caltech

This illustration shows the DART spacecraft approaching the two asteroids, Didymos and Dimorphos, with a small observing spacecraft nearby. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben hide caption

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Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben

Asteroid Didymos and its moonlet Dimorphos are not a threat to Earth, but because they do pass relatively close to Earth, so they were chosen as the target for NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission. The redirect technology could one day be used to deflect asteroids on a collision course with our home planet. NASA JPL DART Navigation Team hide caption

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NASA JPL DART Navigation Team

Asteroid Deflection Mission, Activate!

In movies, asteroids careening towards Earth are confronted by determined humans with nuclear weapons to save the world! But a real NASA mission wants to change the course of an asteroid now (one not hurtling towards Earth). The Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, launched in 2021 and on Monday, September 26, 2022, makes contact with the celestial object. In 2021, NPR science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce talked about what it takes to pull off this mission and how it could potentially protect the Earth in the future from killer space rocks, and that's what you'll hear today. And stay tuned - when NASA has the results of contact in a few weeks, Short Wave will bring Nell back to tell us all about it!

Asteroid Deflection Mission, Activate!

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A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the Lucy spacecraft lifts off from Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Saturday in Cape Canaveral, Fla. John Raoux/AP hide caption

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John Raoux/AP

An artist's rendering shows NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft descending toward the asteroid Bennu to collect a sample of the asteroid's surface. NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona hide caption

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NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

An artist's rendering shows NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft descending toward the asteroid Bennu to collect a sample of the asteroid's surface. NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona hide caption

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NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

This mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 images collected on Dec. 2, 2018 by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from a range of 15 miles. NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona hide caption

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NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

A NASA Spacecraft Successfully Touched Down On A Rocky Asteroid

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Visitors look at a model of a Saturn V rocket and its launch umbilical tower, which were used during the Apollo moon-landing program, at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Fifty years ago this July 20, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

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Alex Wong/Getty Images

A stripe of red dots shows the risk corridor for a hypothetical asteroid strike, part of an exercise this week held by planetary defense experts in which they analyze data about a fictitious asteroid. Landsat/Copernicus/Google Earth/Dept. of State Geographer hide caption

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Landsat/Copernicus/Google Earth/Dept. of State Geographer

This Week, NASA Is Pretending An Asteroid Is On Its Way To Smack The Earth

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Asteroid Ryugu, photographed on June 26 by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft, was the Japanese mission's destination. The craft will travel alongside the asteroid for 18 months. JAXA, University of Tokyo and collaborators hide caption

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JAXA, University of Tokyo and collaborators

Asteroids regularly pass by Earth, as depicted here. A new NASA system called Scout aims to identify the ones that will come closest to the planet. P. Carril/ESA hide caption

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P. Carril/ESA

NASA's New 'Intruder Alert' System Spots An Incoming Asteroid

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Freddie Mercury is seen here performing with Queen bandmate Brian May. This week, May announced that an asteroid has been named in Mercury's honor. Ian Dickson/Redferns/Getty Images hide caption

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Ian Dickson/Redferns/Getty Images

Geophysicists announced this week that they have successfully collected key samples from the site of the asteroid strike that likely wiped out the dinosaurs. Joe Tucciarone/Science Source hide caption

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Joe Tucciarone/Science Source

Geologists Find Clues In Crater Left By Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid

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Dwarf planet Ceres is seen in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, where it resides well away from Earth. NASA is hoping to quell online rumors that a massive near-Earth asteroid is due to hit us next month. NASA/Reuters/Landov hide caption

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NASA/Reuters/Landov

For helping to find asteroids, NASA has set up a contest with cash awards. In 2012, the agency said that "more potentially hazardous asteroids, or PHAs, are closely aligned with the plane of our solar system than previous models suggested." NASA hide caption

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NASA

These NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope images reveal a never-before-seen set of six comet-like tails radiating from a body in the asteroid belt designated P/2013 P5. NASA, ESA, D. Jewitt (University of California, Los Angeles), J. Agarwal (Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research), H. Weaver (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory), M. Mutchler (STScI), and S. Larson (University of Arizona) hide caption

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NASA, ESA, D. Jewitt (University of California, Los Angeles), J. Agarwal (Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research), H. Weaver (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory), M. Mutchler (STScI), and S. Larson (University of Arizona)