…..The mission, called Don Quijote, will involve sending two spacecraft towards a near-Earth asteroid.
One will be an ‘impactor’, which is fired into the asteroid, the other an orbitor that will analyse data from the experiment.
One potential target is a 1600ft-wide asteroid called 99942 Apophis, which experts say does have a minute chance – around one in 250,000 – of hitting Earth in 2036, so it would be useful target practice.
The 500kg impact craft, which will be called Hidalgo, will ram into the asteroid at a speed of around six miles a second.
The orbitor, called Sancho, will scan the collision and monitor whether the asteroid changes direction at all…..