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President Donald Trump holds a NASA flight jacket presented to him by NASA Astronaut Office Chief Chris Cassidy after signing the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, alongside members of the Senate, Congress, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 21, 2017. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

On Friday afternoon at 1:38pm EST, President Donald Trump posted on Twitter about the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the moon and the mission to Mars. The tweet baffled people for multiple reasons.

The President's tweet stated:

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Credit: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

It's been three years since NASA announced its 3-D Printed Habitat Competition, sending designers and architects scrambling to imagine the best design for a home on Mars—one that could be constructed using materials already available on Earth's neighbor planet.

Now, Nasa has announced the top three finalists, and their designs are something else.

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MARS - JANUARY 6: In this handout released by NASA, a portion of the first color image of Mars that was taken by the panoramic camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit is seen January 6, 2003. The rover landed on Mars January 3 and sent it's first high resolution color image January 6. (Photo by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory/ Cornell University via Getty Images)

Mars has intrigued us humans down here on Earth for centuries, and the Red Planet isn't out of surprises.

While much of the public focus is on Mars' water supply—present and prehistoric—this latest mystery doesn't hinge on a liquid, but a gas. Specifically: methane.

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Credit: NASA

Opportunity was only given 90 days to live after landing on the tempestuous surface of Mars in 2004. Fourteen and a half years past its original 90 day mission, the little rover that could has finally ended its quest.

The news comes months after the Rover stopped replying to commands left by technicians on Earth. Despite over 835 attempts to revive Opportunity remotely, it was declared dead on February 13, 2019.

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 12: Stephen Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, Dennis Stanton Avery and Sally Tsui Wong-Avery Director of Research, University of Cambridge as he and Yuri Milner host press conference to announce Breakthrough Starshot, a new space exploration initiative, at One World Observatory on April 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize Foundation)

The renowned British scientist Stephen Hawking died in 2018, but he’s still talking to us. His parting words to humanity have just been released, in the form of recorded excerpts from his last book, Brief Answers to Big Questions. Here’s what he has to say.

First, we have to stop ignoring climate change or we will be doomed, said Hawking. “A rise in ocean temperature would melt the ice caps and cause the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide,” Hawking said. “Both effects could make our climate like that of Venus with a temperature of 250C.”

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This low-angle self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at the site from which it reached down to drill into a rock target called "Buckskin" on lower Mount Sharp. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA’s Curiosity Rover has made a fascinating discovery on Mars: preserved organic matter. The sulfur-rich material was found along the bottom of a long-dry lake, and supports the possibility that life could exist, or may once have existed, on our second closest celestial neighbor.

While not itself evidence of life, the material found in the lake bed does contain the building blocks of life, deposited some 3 billion years ago. But everything else about it is still in question. For one, how did it get there? It could be the natural result of the rock formation process, or it could have been deposited by a meteorite, like the one that formed the lake. Or it could be the result of biological processes within the lake, or in rivers that fed the lake. NASA expert Jennifer Eigenbrode says that it’s too soon to determine where the deposits came from, but it’s a promising starting point for future research.

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Pixabay

Humans really, really want to colonize Mars. Water, of course, is essential, and recent findings by researchers at Arizona State University have confirmed that Mars still has large amounts of water ice that future human settlers will be able to access with relative ease. The presence of subsurface water ice could also render the possibility of microbial life on Mars a bit more realistic. Perhaps most promisingly, the water ice is relatively clean.

"Water is a crucial resource for astronauts, because it could be combined with carbon dioxide, the main ingredient in Mars's atmosphere, to create oxygen to breathe and methane, a rocket propellant.” - Science Magazine

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