An asteroid is hurtling through space. A spacecraft blasts off from earth with a mission of changing the course of that big rock.

That has been subject of a number of movies over the years, but this time its for real.

But first, the fictional asteroid disaster movies.

There was 1999's Armegeddon

Deep Impact in 1998

And then, there was this year's Asteroid

All of that said, we ran across a story of a mission whose goal is to make sure that life does not imitate art.

Very early Wednesday morning, a rocket is scheduled to take off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

This will be the first real test of something developed by NASA that could someday be used to protect earth from being hit by a comet, asteroid or some other large space rock.

The over-simplified version of what's going to happen is that this spacecraft, about the size of a golf cart, will head for an asteroid about six million miles away that doesn't pose any threat, and ram into it. Not to destroy it, just to change its course.

It's called the DART mission - Double Asteroid Redirection Test.

In it's information about DART are assurances from NASA that they are constantly tracking rocks big enough to do catastrophic damage if they hit Earth, but there could be smaller asteroids that could go undetected, and avoiding those kinds of surprises is apparently what this mission is about.

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