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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Silkworm larvae. (Wikimedia Commons)

If you feel like Earth is becoming less and less habitable each year, you’re not alone. Even famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking declared in 2017 that if human civilization is to survive, our best bet is to move to the moon within the next 30 years.

As it turns out, China is about to take the first steps toward testing livability on what’s often referred to as the “dark side” of the moon — the as-yet-unexplored southern hemisphere, not visible from Earth.

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Oblique view of eastern Marius Hills and Marius crater (upper right) by Lunar Orbiter 2. (Lunar and Planetary Institute, Lunar Orbiter Photo Gallery Lunar Orbiter 2, image 213, med [1])

The United States and Russia are teaming up to construct the Deep Space Gateway, which is a stepping stone to establishing a human colony on the Moon; Apollo 17 in 1972 sent the last people to the Moon. Establishing a settlement on the lunar surface is a vastly more complicated task than a three-day stay in a lander. The Moon lacks both an atmosphere and a magnetic field, and its surface is completely exposed to high energy cosmic rays, radiation from the Sun, and the vacuum of space. Its surface temperatures are extreme, swinging between minus 100 at night and 173 degrees Celsius during the day, and a day on the Moon lasts 28 Earth days.

Humans cannot survive on the Moon without some serious protection—if we are to return and establish permanent residence up there, we need a safe place to stay.

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Katherine Johnson (center), Caroline Waterlow (left) and Ezra Edelman (right) at the 89th Annual Academy Awards on February 26, 2017 (Tyler Golden/Getty Images)

For a girl who loved to count everything, you might expect Katherine G. Johnson to be grateful that she was alive to count her 99th year. It’s not every day that a civilian gets honored by NASA, as Johnson was last month as the space agency opened the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility in Hampton, Virginia.

But you would be wrong. When asked pointedly about the distinction bestowed upon her for playing such a pivotal role in the American space program, the nonagenarian didn’t know what to make of the hoopla.

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On Monday morning, August 21, a total solar eclipse will travel from coast to coast for the first time in a century. Columbia University’s renowned astrophysicist and author of The Elegant Universe Brian Greene explains why this extraordinary observance is not to be missed.

Often times, these eclipses don't happen over populated areas. You have to go in the middle of the ocean or someplace far away, but we have a real opportunity to experience one of the great wonders of nature.”

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[DIGEST: IFLS, Science Alert]

The Apollo missions from 1969-1974 were uniquely unifying events and significant technological achievements for humanity. The 842 pounds of moon rocks recovered by the Apollo astronauts led to discoveries about the origins of the Earth-Moon system. These findings were based on the similar densities and crustal compositions of both bodies. Although researchers initially assumed that the Moon was dry, recent revelations gleaned from the Apollo samples have revealed the presence of water within the rocks. This surprised astronomers because lunar surface temperatures can reach 253 degrees Fahrenheit, which should have boiled away any water.

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[DIGEST: IFLS, China Daily, SCMP]

Potatoes are not just one of the hardiest crops on Earth; they may soon be the first crop to grow on the moon, thanks to Chinese astronauts. While this may seem like a strange proposition, researchers at the whimsically named International Potato Center (CIP) in Lima, Peru, demonstrated last year that potatoes could be grown on Mars, by replicating Martian soil and atmospheric conditions. This piqued the interest of the Chinese space program, which is scheduled to make its next lunar expedition in 2018.

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