The asteroid, named 2023 DZ2, will come within a third of the distance from the Earth to the Moon and will be analysed by astronomers around the world.
The intentional crash was seven years in the making, with NASA looking to see whether it could manually direct a space probe to collide with an asteroid and deflect its trajectory to prevent a potentially catastrophic impact with Earth.
Researchers discovered "amino acids and other organic matter" in dust from the asteroid Ryugu, adding weight to a theory that life on Earth was brought from outer space.
The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is sending a mission called DART to collide with a small asteroid orbiting a larger one to see if it can knock it off its course by impact alone.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test, DART, is a test run, demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection technology.
The rock is about 41 metres in diameter and orbits the Sun but remains close to Earth. It may have been the result of a collision striking the Moon, based on the light it reflects.
The rock, named 4660 Nereus, will pass Earth at a distance 3.9 million kilometres on 11 December.
The spacecraft, which began its two-year journey home on Monday, holds between 200 grams and 400 grams of asteroid chunks — the biggest cosmic haul for the US since the Apollo moon rocks.
Hayabusa2 spacecraft released a small capsule that has landed in a remote, sparsely populated area of Woomera, Australia, Japan's space agency says.
The spacecraft on desolate asteroid Ryugu, some 300 million km from Earth, is on a mission of collecting samples in hopes of finding clues to the origin of the solar system.
The unmanned Hayabusa2 spacecraft will spend about two months looking for suitable landing places on the uneven surface.
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