If all goes well, the spacecraft that NASA plans to launch today will smash itself to bits against an asteroid.

If all goes absolutely perfectly, that impact will jostle the asteroid into a slightly different orbit. wapo.st/3r0vha9
Mission success would mean that for the first time, humans will have changed the trajectory of a celestial object.

Making history, however, is incidental. The real mission is to defend the planet. wapo.st/3r0vha9
The basic idea could not be simpler: Hit it with a hammer! But the degree of difficulty is high, in part because no one has ever actually seen the asteroid NASA plans to nudge.

It is a moonlet named Dimorphos that is about the size of a football stadium. wapo.st/3r0vha9 Scientists don't know the moonlet Dimorphos's shape but have
Why just bump it instead of blowing it apart? Because exploding a pile of ancient rock would be messy and unpredictable, said the mission’s coordination lead.

A small nudge now could ensure that an asteroid sails well wide of Earth years down the road. wapo.st/3r0vha9 "You would do this well ahead of time, like decades - 1
No known asteroid large enough to cause damage on the ground has any significant chance of reaching our planet in the next 50 years, according to Paul Chodas, director of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies.

The unknown ones are the wild cards. wapo.st/3r0vha9 Known near-Earth asteroids: Discoveries began to tick up as
Here’s a look at the tech that will be tested.

With rolled-up solar panels, an ion thruster and its own satellite paparazzi, the DART spacecraft carries quite a bit of sophisticated equipment, including some that NASA is testing for future missions. wapo.st/3r0vha9
The spacecraft will be launched as early as 1:21 a.m. EST Wednesday.

In 2024, the European Space Agency will launch a spacecraft named Hera to visit Dimorphos and investigate the crater that — fingers crossed — will be left by DART. wapo.st/3r0vha9

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More from @washingtonpost

25 Nov
Wild boar. Kelp salad. Crickets in your pie crust.

These are just a few things that may end up on Thanksgiving menus as climate change takes its toll on the planet. wapo.st/3FQgIKJ
Drought, blistering heat waves and raging wildfires have gripped much of the West, stressing crops such as wheat.

In the Northeast, the fastest-warming region in the country, cranberries are budding earlier, making them more vulnerable to frost damage. wapo.st/3FQgIKJ
And in the Southeast, intensifying hurricanes, driven by warming oceans, are forcing farmers to move turkeys northward to drier ground.

Climate change has officially arrived at our Thanksgiving tables. wapo.st/3FQgIKJ "You can bet that unde...
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24 Nov
Three men convicted of murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was shot in Georgia last year washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/11…
Travis McMichael, his father, Greg McMichael, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were all convicted of felony murder in the fatal shooting of Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man — meaning they committed felonies that caused his death.
Ruby Arbery, Ahmaud’s aunt, said she “felt something lift off her” as the judge read the verdicts. wapo.st/3p1MLR7 Image
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24 Nov
At least seven of the 10 dead after the Astroworld Festival were clustered in a small area enclosed on three sides by metal barriers that became dangerously crowded, according to a Washington Post investigation. wapo.st/3FKUslm
Using exclusive video, interviews with witnesses and expert crowd analysis, The Post reconstructed the chaos in one section of the audience at rapper Travis Scott’s music festival. wapo.st/3FKUslm
Ten fans at the Nov. 5 concert in Houston died and dozens more were injured, making it one of the most deadly concerts in the nation’s history.

The Post found that most of those who died were close to each other in the viewing area’s south quadrant. wapo.st/3FKUslm
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23 Nov
Operated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the 287(g) program empowers state and local law enforcement officers to act with federal authority: questioning, reporting and detaining undocumented immigrants. wapo.st/3xex90f
Although ICE promised that the program would focus only on serious criminals, pro-immigration groups have repeatedly warned that the partnerships enable hard-line sheriffs to target undocumented immigrants leading peaceful lives. wapo.st/3xex90f
Despite mounting concerns about discriminatory policing, the Trump administration dramatically expanded the program’s reach, courting sheriffs who in some cases championed similar views on immigration policy, according to internal ICE emails obtained by The Post.
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22 Nov
Several players told The Post that Rory Dames, the longest-tenured coach in the NWSL, was verbally and emotionally abusive, and that U.S. Soccer ignored players’ complaints. Dames resigned Monday. wapo.st/3HMP3vE
The players turned not to the league itself, which has struggled to police abuse in its decade of existence. Instead, they went to the U.S. Soccer Federation.

But Dames kept his job, going on to become the NWSL’s longest-tenured coach. washingtonpost.com/sports/2021/11…
Seven players told The Post they believed Dames had been emotionally abusive to them or their teammates, including five players who said they sought to be traded or leave the team because of it. wapo.st/3nILP4o Image
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19 Nov
Growing at unprecedented rates, and shaped by forces both familiar and new, dozens of African cities will join the ranks of humanity’s biggest megalopolises between now and 2100. wapo.st/3qMEwKV
Several recent studies project that by the end of this century, Africa will be the only continent experiencing population growth.

Thirteen of the world’s 20 biggest urban areas will be in Africa, as will more than a third of the world’s population. wapo.st/3qMEwKV
In each of the following African cities, we examine common themes — migration, inequality, foreign investment, conflict and planning — that underlie this transformation across the continent. wapo.st/3qMEwKV
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