Stock Report 2016… Story By: John Holmes

The market is up…here is the Dow Jones, NASDAQ, and S&P. Photo by: CNN.
The market is up…here is the Dow Jones, NASDAQ, and S&P. Photo by: CNN.

Stock markets do crazy things during an election. The Dow rose 257 points the day after the election, and the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ rose by 1.1% each. However, on Tuesday, Dow futures were down 900 points and there was a 4% drop in crude oil prices.

Global markets also suffered some loss after the election. Both the Mexican peso and the British pound fell 9%, and the Japanese market fell sharply with a 5% drop in the Nikkei 225. In addition to these, the Euro has also gone down in value.

There was some rising, though. Big banks rose their interest rates, with JPMorgan Chase rising 5% and a 7% increase for Morgan Stanley. Defense stocks, such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, also rose.

Though there were some large drops, the odd behavior of the market during and just after the election is nothing to fret over. Presidential elections normally cause strange behavior in the market. According to Anne Smith, Senior Editor of Kiplinger, “The stock market has, for the most part, ebbed and flowed with the four-year election cycle for the past 182 years.” Bear markets and recessions are common trends during a president’s first two years, and bull markets and prosperous times tend to occur in the final two. For example, the Dow Jones, ever since 1833, has gained an average of 10.4% the year before an election, but normally drops to 6% during the election year. And as for concerns about which party wins the White House, Smith says those concerns are “unwarranted—at least from an investing standpoint.” As can be seen, there is really no need to worry over your investment portfolio after an election.

The current exchange rates…the Euro, Pound, Yen, Canadian Dollar, Yuan. Photo by: CNN.
The current exchange rates…the Euro, Pound, Yen, Canadian Dollar, Yuan. Photo by: CNN.

As for the current market, the Dow is at +0.19%, the NASDAQ is at +0.74%, and S&P is at +0.47%. Oil is at $44.93 per barrel, gas is at an average of $2.70, gold is at $1,217.30, and silver is at $16.80. Japan’s Nikkei is at 0%, London’s FTSE 100 is at +0.67%, Germany’s DAX is at +0.20%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is at -0.08%. The exchange rate for the Euro is $1.06, for the British pound it is $1.24, and the Canadian dollar is at $0.74. Some of the most popular stocks include Fitbit Inc., Cisco, American Airlines, Wal-Mart, and Macy’s.

Hopefully, as a new year comes, the market will continue to rise and rebound. It is just a matter of waiting to see.

Halloween at FBCS… Story By Iris Grayson

Halloween at FBCS was all together an eventful day.

Halloween is a Celtic holiday that is now usually associated with receiving candy and dressing up in costumes.

The decorations around the school were curtsey of the student council, everything ranging from spider webs in the entrance, to bats and ghosts hanging from the ceiling. There were noise makers going off in the entrance, and mouse silhouettes on the front desk as well.

The Halloween costumes at FBCS ranged from the Joker, to a Minion in a coconut bra, to original characters.

The Judges of the costume contest consisted of Paul, Wendy, Michael, and Mary. The winners of the costume contest were Gabe Walden, as a trashcan, for most original; Sierra VanGaundy as Flynn Rider, and Yakira Jones dressed as Rapunzel from Tangled.

Though they weren’t the only ones with impressive costumes, there were Joellie Heneise, Juliet Harrison dressed up as Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, Joker and henchmen, original characters such as Barnaby Abrahams and Emmet Gilligan, Zacharie from Off, and many, many others. Student Council also gave the kids going to the lock in a treat, as they had to pay less money if they were wearing a costume on Halloween. They gave this as a way of thanking everyone for celebrating school spirit.

 

The pumpkin carving contest ended up having three contestants and three winners. There were pumpkins painted, and carved. Though a total of one of the pumpkins was carved for the pumpkin carving contest. The one carver was Holly’s entire advisory. While the painters brought theirs in by themselves.

One pumpkin was white and had melted crayon art falling from the top. The other was a pumpkin painted like a woman’s face with Day of the Dead make up. The carved pumpkin was a smaller frowning pumpkin inside of a larger pumpkin with square holes carved through it. All three contestants ended up winning the contest and all received a mug filled with candy.

 

Day of the Dead was also on Tuesday the 2nd and Wednesday the 3rd, and it is the days after Halloween. Day of the Dead the holiday is also called Día de los Muertos is a Spanish holiday that honors the dead in a celebratory way. The multi-day holiday is to commemorate, friends and family who have died, and those who still need help gaining access to the spirt world.. The day usually is decorated with marigolds, and sugar skulls.

Please remember to be positive that the candy you do eat is sealed, and unopened, as it may contain dangerous substances, or objects inside if they are already opened.

Forrest Bird Charter School would like to give a thank you to everyone who participated in providing school spirit by dressing up, carving pumpkins, and competing in the contests.

Hillary Colludes with the DOJ… Story By Jada Giddings

As its likely well-known by now, Hillary Clinton has previously deleted over thirty-thousand emails from her private server. Last Tuesday, the Trump campaign called out the Department of Justice discharge all of Clinton’s communications between her and her supporters to prove the investigation an overboard situation.

A picture shot during James Comey and Loretta Lynch spoke about Hillary Clinton’s emails, making it obvious that Clinton has been being given a special treatment.
A picture shot during James Comey and Loretta Lynch spoke about Hillary Clinton’s emails, making it obvious that Clinton has been being given a special treatment.

After this took place charge, WikiLeaks hacked and leaked out recent messages. In these hacked emails, DOJ spokesman, Brian Fallon, was found updating processes relating to the investigation relating to Hillary’s emails. “DOJ folks inform me there is a status hearing in this case this morning, so we could have a window into the judge’s thinking about this proposed production schedule as quickly as today,” Brian Fallon sent to Hillary Clinton on May 19th of 2015. Later the same day of the release, Donald Trump’s communication advisor, Jason Miller, said, “Today’s report that Clinton’s campaign was in communication with the Obama Department of Justice on the email investigation shows a level of collusion which calls into question the entire investigation into her private server.”

For having access to Clinton’s emails, the State Department was sued and the litigation soon was in process to determine a date to release the messages. Another matter on hand was the Justice Department putting a criminal probe within Hillary Clinton’s classified materials was irrelevant to the case.

A photo of Hillary Clinton claiming the situation between the DOJ and the leaked videos was ‘colluded.’
A photo of Hillary Clinton claiming the situation between the DOJ and the leaked videos was ‘colluded.’

After the charges from the Trump campaign had been given, James Comey, a director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Loretta Lynch on the behalf of the Department of Justice, had made it obvious that Hillary was being given a ‘special treatment’ considering the two directors of the DOJ continued to spin their story. People below these directors from the Department of Justice now know that Hillary is getting these sudden privileges. By managing to exploit this, James Comey from the FBI is said to have permanently ruined the reputation of the bureau. This has been stated by veteran agents of the FBI. They have also claimed James Comey to be ‘cowardly’ due to neglect to the investigation and mishandlings of evidence through the use private servers.

After the situation, Comey argued that at was a mass of FBI agents’ fault, those of whom were under Comey himself. He stated, “So if I blew it, they blew it too.” This showed that he took no responsibility for his actions. Though, agents claim that Comey basically ‘forced’ the agents into agreeing to basic rules and demands from lawyers that are defending Hillary Clinton as well as her aids. Dennis V. Hughes, a first chief of the computer investigations unit of the FBI, claimed, “In my 25 years with the bureau, I never had any ground rules in my interviews.” This event has shown how the FBI and DOJ are really corrupt and that Hillary is above the law in a sense.

October Student of the Month Story By: Natalie Faris

This month Tiberius Olsen, Brianna Abbey, Noah Cordle, Juliet Harrison, Leah Roth, Lauren Roth, Briana Stefani, Gage Johnson, and John Christman started their day with a pleasant surprise of being awarded student of the month for their positive depositions.

Students at FBCS have been awarded for their positive personalities in class. Photo by: Mind and Mentality
Students at FBCS have been awarded for their positive personalities in class. Photo by: Mind and Mentality

“My initial reaction was surprise, I mean I didn’t expect to get called on stage that morning!” Said Leah Roth, describing what she felt that morning. Her words seem to speak for all of the other awarded students. Across the board, there were reactions of surprise and excitement.

The Student of the Month award was based on the idea of the Kuddos Kids awards, but it grew when the Vaugh family donated the student of the month board in honor of Mr. Goodwin.  “At the end of the school year, the staff member were contemplating what the award should honor. We felt that Mr. Goodwin would have liked the focus to be on positive traits since he so often spoke of the importance of educating the entire student. The teachers brainstormed a list of positive traits that they wanted to honor.” Says Mary Jensen.

The students that were rewarded for positivity gave much affirmation about the idea of basing it on personality rather than academics.  “While it doesn’t acknowledge us academically, it does showcase the things that people may not notice if they can’t look passed your grades … I think that people have forgotten that while your grade may show what you’re learning in class, it doesn’t showcase who you are as a person.” Said Morgan Morse

“Positivity is very important to daily life it can make even the darkest days better if you can keep your eyes on a brighter more positive future.” Said Noah Cordle. Each of the students saw that positivity effected their lives in a beneficial way. “Research is beginning to reveal that positive thinking is about much more than just being happy or displaying an upbeat attitude. Positive thoughts can actually create real value in your life and help you build skills that last much longer than a smile.” – Huffington Post

So it is evident that positivity not only is beneficial to students who practice it, but is also scientifically proven to help different parts of your life. But how can you have a positive attitude? The receivers of the student of the month award have some advice for how to stay positive.

The students of the month give their insight to how to stay positive. Photo By:Workplace Positivity
The students of the month give their insight to how to stay positive. Photo By:Workplace Positivity

“Just do what feels right, and always keep your chin up. Although you may be feeling down about something, keep smiling and try to remember that your mood, whether you believe so or not, does affect the people around you.” – Morgan Morse

“Yea, just think of the good things in life and don’t let anyone get in the way of your positivity” – Tiberius Olsen

“Think about things that bring a smile to your face no matter what or think about something you’re looking forward to.” – Brianna Abbey

“Yes smile through pain, laugh in agony, and tell jokes in the depression and surround yourself with people that make you happy.” – Noah Cordle

“I think the best way to be more positive is to try and help others feel happy. I know that probably sounds really cliche, but it’s true! If my best friend is sad, I won’t stop until she/he is happy again.” – Leah Roth

Truth Behind Creepy Clowns Story By: Natalie Farris

Nationwide Prank... Clowns keep popping up in social media and even around the country in forests or streets. However, among the police calls, sightings, and comments, very few of them are anything more than pranks. Photo By: Facebook/Jamie Hill
Nationwide Prank… Clowns keep popping up in social media and even around the country in forests or streets. However, among the police calls, sightings, and comments, very few of them are anything more than pranks. Photo By: Facebook/Jamie Hill

Recently, a very concerning subject has been plaguing the news and haunting the mind of people all over the country. According to rumor, clowns have been appearing in forests and abducting children, walking around at night threatening to beat people up, and harassing people in their own homes. Rumor also says clowns have been sighted in Sandpoint, Bonners Ferry, and Kellogg. But is there any truth behind these myths? Are there creepy clowns really among us?

Reports started in Greenville, South Carolina during August. Children claimed that clowns were attempting to lure them into the forest near their homes. Since then, a global epidemic of creepy clown “sightings” sprung up not only in the nation but around the world. However, the vast majority of these are hoaxes, and only roughly twelve arrests have been made in the US.

Most of what the creepy clowns have done is internet threats. There have been countless cases of “clowns” using social media and/or texting to anonymously threaten teenagers or schools and teachers. Authorities are having to respond to these threats as if they are all real. Likewise, in Nampa, Idaho, there have been several calls that people have told policemen that they have seen a creepy clown walking around, one of which stated that the clown had a machete. The police responded to these calls, but there was nothing to be found. This happened in Kellogg as well, were teens claimed to have been harassed online by creepy clowns and there have been some alleged clown sightings.

A Rare Sight... Police Officers aren’t able to arrest just any pranker and get creepy clowns off the streets. The clowns have to either be carrying a weapon, or threatening people. Only a total of roughly twelve people involved in the creepy clowns have been arrested.
A Rare Sight… Police Officers aren’t able to arrest just any pranker and get creepy clowns off the streets. The clowns have to either be carrying a weapon, or threatening people. Only a total of roughly twelve people involved in the creepy clowns have been arrested.

Police all around the country are having to fight this “clown epidemic”. They are facing the problem that most of the “sightings” are all hoaxes, however, they must look into each of the cases because any one could be legitimate. So the police force is pouring much of its resources into this nationwide prank.

Even so, police aren’t the only ones suffering. Real life clowns who make a living from the clown business are taking a blow. The creepy clowns are building distrust for regular clowns, so much so that clowns were hosting a clown lives matter rally October 15, in Tucson, Arizona. However, the march was canceled due to threatening emails and social media messages.  Additionally, it could be unsafe for people to dress up as a clown this Halloween, and many haunted houses are choosing to remove the creepy clown features.

Yahoo in Cahoots Story By: Iris Grayson

yahoo-1-1Yahoo is an internet site known for answering those stupid questions we have, sending e-mails, and informing us on the news, but lately they’ve been telling U.S Intelligence a lot far beyond their privacy policy. Yahoo claims to “Yahoo takes your privacy seriously.” (-Yahoo Privacy Center), but according to Yahoo workers Yahoo has been scouring hundreds of thousands of emails looking for information, for the U.S intelligence. What they are searching for is terrorist information. Sources say it was probably sent through a privet e-mail. Though Yahoo might not be the only one asked to search through privet information. The NSA states that if Yahoo was asked to search it is likely that other internet sites were asked as well. As more tech companies become more skilled at encrypting data it is likely they will receive more such requests.

Even though we don’t know the specific program used we do know that Yahoo’s tracking tool is similar to the tool used to the one used to look for spam, malware, and child pornography. However it is different than Upstream in the fact that it looks through message headers, message content, and message to and from. The government targeted the specific accounts of foreigners.`

“This is a troubling vision of the future where there might be massive government surveillance done with computers,” Opsahl states “The government may well say they were only targeting a string of characters used by a foreigner, but it just so happened that hundreds of millions of innocent people also had their emails examined too.”

Information such as Identifaction, social security numbers, date of birth, and location if

They are not the only company to have done this. Apple has done a similar thing when they wrote a program to break into an encrypted IPhone involved in the San Bernardino massacre. The FBI dropped the case after the phone revealed the help of a third party. According Sam Biddle, the Interpret, the other internet “giants” (Google, Twitter, Facebook and Apple) denied involvement in the “hacking”.

Not only has Yahoo violated their privacy policy, but they have violated the right to privacy stated in the Fourth Amendment.

yahoo2-1-1Yahoo has also sent a scan out through e-mail that detects a certain signature that was supposedly used in terrorist messaging.

“The company probably wants to say more, but are gagged by the very same company the accepted the request from.” Opsahl states.

Not long ago Yahoo resisted government demands. The Sunnyvale Company intentionally challenged the program in a battle dating back to 2007, despite being fined 250,000 dollars a day.

Though Yahoo was under different management. Melissa Mayer, a past Google executive for the past four years, was the one who denied such requests.

Yahoo currently has plans to sell the company to Verizon. Verizon currently has no comment on the matter.

Though the question must be asked: Yahoo was asked to do such things in the past, why have they said yes to this specific request?

Hurricane Matthew… By Mack Jastle

 

Weeks after Hurricane Matthew tore through Haiti and the southeastern United States, people and emergency management officials alike are finally able to focus on recovering from the damage.

Hurricane Matthew caused an estimated $1.5 billion dollars in damage, and that’s just what North Carolina reported.  The state suffered some of the worst flooding it has ever had, and waters are just now receding.

 

Devastation…Hurricane Matthew destroyed many homes, and left many without a place to go.  Only now is aid starting to reach these more remote areas.  Photo-by: Rebecca Blackwell/AP
Devastation…Hurricane Matthew destroyed many homes, and left many without a place to go. Only now is aid starting to reach these more remote areas. Photo-by: Rebecca Blackwell/AP

However, North Carolina wasn’t the only one hit hard by the hurricane.

 

Haiti is in dire straits after floodwaters and high winds have destroyed much of the nation’s crops, contaminated drinking water, and demolished thousands of homes.

Many people are left without basic staples in the wake of the disaster.  In more remote areas, people are forced to walk for hours just to get basic essentials like food and water.  Prices of essential goods have skyrocketed, pushing many families into poverty as they try to find enough to eat and drink.  While aid is being provided, many citizens watch as aid trucks drive right past them to help the major cities.

This is where Hurricane Matthew’s effects are the most pronounced.

Some of the more remote villages have been all but wiped off the map.  The extent of the devastation has prompted many to flee for the relative safety of the larger cities.  As a consequence, many of the small villages that were populated and secure before the hurricane are now desolate and empty.

However, while it has been over two weeks since Hurricane Matthew subsided, the danger is far from over.

In the wake of Hurricane Matthew’s floodwaters and water contamination, cholera is able to flourish.  Haiti has been battling the disease since late 2010, when it was introduced via UN peacekeepers leaking waste into a river.  It has ravaged the country since then, taking advantage of inadequate hygiene and medical facilities.  The hurricane only exacerbated this problem.

IV…Clinics like this one have been set up to combat the spread of cholera in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.  Photo-by: Meredith Kohut/New York Times
IV…Clinics like this one have been set up to combat the spread of cholera in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. Photo-by: Meredith Kohut/New York Times

Previously clean water sources are now contaminated, and rivers and reservoirs used for bathing and clean drinking water are now contaminated by the disease.  To make matters worse, many clinics and aid centers that could potentially have provided treatment were wiped out by the hurricane, leaving many with nowhere to go.

The sheer volume of patients and scarcity of medical supplies has forced clinics to use less than optimal medical treatments.  Oftentimes the only aid these clinics to offer the sick is an IV and some water.  Making matters worse, many of those suffering from cholera refuse treatment, preferring to tough it out without wasting resources.  These people often perish without receiving medical care.

While Hurricane Matthew may have long since dissipated, there is still much to be done.  Aid must be provided for the victims of this tragedy, and soon.

Third Party Candidates for the 2016 Presidential Election By John Holmes

 

The upcoming November Presidential Election has been a hot topic lately. There have been wide ranges of discussion about the two mainstream candidates – Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton – across various news organizations and social media sites. However, for those of you who do not want to vote two-party, here are three third-party candidates running for the 2016 election.

The Libertarian candidate…Gary Johnson. Photo by: Johnson-Weld 2016.
The Libertarian candidate…Gary Johnson. Photo by: Johnson-Weld 2016.

One of these candidates is the Libertarian party candidate Gary Johnson – former governor of New Mexico. Though a former Republican, Gov. Johnson’s ideals closely resemble those of the Libertarian party – that of minimal government intervention – as shown by his belief in returning control of the education system back to the state and local level. As for foreign policy, Johnson proposes a change from “policing the world” to protecting ourselves at home. Johnson’s foreign policy includes cutting funding for foreign armies, repairing our relationships with our allies, and only sending out troops with the approval of Congress. Gov. Johnson’s also supports the idea of healthy job growth in our economy. To accomplish this, Johnson states that he will remove unnecessary regulation on the market, allowing entrepreneurs and businesses to create more jobs.

The Green Party candidate…Jill Stein. Photo by: Jill 2016.
The Green Party candidate…Jill Stein. Photo by: Jill 2016.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein, however, believes in “jobs as a right.” Stein states that, as President, she will generate jobs for every working American – along with a $15 an hour federal minimum wage. She also believes in “education as right,” stating she will end student debt and create a tuition-free, non-privatized school system in the U.S. As for her foreign policy, Stein states she will end “wars and drone attacks” as well as cut military spending by 50 percent, close our foreign military bases, and lead a global nuclear disarmament.

An independent candidate…Evan McMullin. Photo by: McMullin-Mindy 2016.
An independent candidate…Evan McMullin. Photo by: McMullin-Mindy 2016.

Former C.I.A operative and independent candidate Evan McMullin has a different approach. Having a foreign policy based on national security, McMullin believes in a strengthening of our military through responsible spending. McMullin states that, as President, he will reform the Pentagon to be a better “steward of taxpayer dollars.” McMullin states he will accomplish this via ensuring the Pentagon monitors its spending and trimming facilities from the Cold War – cutting the amount of taxpayer dollars spent on these facilities. To support the economy, McMullin believes in spurring more economic growth. By simplifying the tax code, reducing the amount of business regulations, as well as reducing entitlement spending. In terms of education, McMullin believes in a reformation of the K-12 education system. Similar to Johnson, McMullin supports local control of the education system. However, he also holds a strong regard for charter schools and supports parents who decide on homeschooling. As for higher education, McMullin believes in cutting the amount of federal intervention in post-secondary schooling and returning control back to the local level, while maintaining the voice that the student may have in the matter. McMullin also believes that the schools should hold themselves to high standards in ensuring a student’s success.

In addition to these three candidates, there are many more alternatives. For more information, visit Politics1.

Americas Return to Nostalgia… Story By: Alistair King

Why does America look to the past? Could it be because of how people perceive today’s world and want to go back to when times were simpler? America has taken a large turn towards the past when it comes to styles, games, and movies. This is evident by the styles of our clothes, our slang, games, and reboots.

 

A different type of jeanie... Even Miley is embracing the denim. Photo By: stealherstyle.net
A different type of jeanie… Even Miley is embracing the denim. Photo By: stealherstyle.net

The 80’s were a time when fashion statements were gaudy and the slang was ridiculous. Many of the trends from that century and the next are still “totally awesome”. For example, the word “like.” What started out in California as a valley girls thing has spread and is still around today. Another great example is denim jackets. While not necessarily popular here in Sandpoint, many places around the country have been embracing the denim and bringing back the airbrushed and patched jackets. Head forward a single decade later and you will see a very prominent theme. This, of course, is plaid. The thing everyone loves to wear on dress down days. There’s one other thing making its way from the 90’s back to us…

 

Let’s talk about Pokémon Go. A trend that nearly everyone from your little sibling to your grandparents was participating in. In an unexpected explosion, Pokémon Go became the most downloaded app seemingly overnight. Why was this? Many people who played the original game of red, blue or even yellow picked up the game again and started socializing with other people. They would then get their friends to play and this would create a huge vacuum effect of people playing together and attracting more people to the game.

Gotta fetch them all... Pokemon go has had a huge impact on the mobile market. Photo By Nintendo
Gotta fetch them all… Pokemon go has had a huge impact on the mobile market. Photo By Nintendo

While this trend was only momentary it still caused a huge bubble of nostalgia. Nintendo made millions in micro transactions and gained a lot of popularity. Many people were able to find some like-minded friends simply by going out and playing Pokémon Go. Who doesn’t love a good reboot?

 

Many things recently have been getting reboots. Movies, games, possibly books. Movie reboots have always been a thing with recent re-releases of Godzilla, Fantastic 4, and Terminator Genisys. Let’s also not forget the upcoming reboot of MacGyver and Lethal Weapon. One of the first reboots was, in fact, Godzilla. First put out in 1954 it got its reboot in 1984, and again in 1998. One of the giants of the reboot industry is Superheros. Ever since 1998 we haven’t been able to go a single year without getting a major reboot of a superhero movie many times more. This is, of course, expected because when we don’t want to face the reality of today’s world we look to superheroes to come and get us out of dull drudgery.

 

So why is it that we look towards the past to find new entertainment? Is it because we want a simpler time, or was the ideas back then just way more interesting? Find out next time on this installment of nostalgia.

Mars needs Moms…SpaceX’s plan to colonize the Red Planet By Mack Jastle

“…we have two paths as humans: One is to stay on Earth forever and eventually face an extinction event.  The alternative is to become a spacefaring and multi-planetary species, which I hope you agree is the right way to go.”-Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX.

Heart of Gold…This is a preliminary design for SpaceX’s fleet of Mars colonization ships. Photo-by: techcrunch.com
Heart of Gold…This is a preliminary design for SpaceX’s fleet of Mars colonization ships. Photo-by: techcrunch.com

This was the justification for colonizing Mars that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk gave during his keynote speech at the International Astronautical Conference last week.

Musk explained the company’s goal of creating a self-sustaining city on Mars, one that could be used to expand into a Martian civilization spanning the planet.  This is where the choice of Mars starts to make sense.  For one, it doesn’t have nearly as many environmental hazards as Venus, another potential option, and it’s a lot closer than Jupiter and Saturn’s moons.  Mars is also an opportune location for a colony due to its size similarity to Earth.

Mars is also relatively rich in resources compared to other options, and if Mars could be warmed, it could develop a thicker atmosphere and oceans.  Musk then joked that it “would be quite fun” to colonize the planet, because of the weaker gravitational pull (about 30% that of Earth’s gravity), making it possible to jump around.

But therein lies the issue with Mars colonization.

There is no overlap between those people that actually want to go to Mars and those who have the money required to finance the trip.  Currently, it is impossible to make the trip for infinite money.

Even with an incredibly optimistic estimate of ten billion dollars per person, which is still far out of reach for 99.9% of the world’s population.

Space X’s goal is to reduce this cost down to about $200,000.  At this point, Musk says, almost anyone could pull together the money to go if they saved up and it was their primary goal.  But how would we be able to lower the cost of a Mars trip by five million percent?

One of the main ways SpaceX plans to improve the economy of Mars trips is through full reusability of ships and vehicles.  This way, there are far less materials needed for every trip, and ships don’t have to be scrapped after one round trip.

The other part of the puzzle comes with orbital refueling, and through setting up propellant stations at Mars itself.  Not refueling in orbit would necessitate that the craft be a three stage vehicle, increasing the cost per ticket by as much as 500%.

The entire rocket system is built to be reusable, with the fuel tank section able to go down and back to refuel 1,000 times per booster.  Each ship is designed to house 100 people, plus cargo, cabins, and recreational areas.  Musk’s plan is to launch an entire fleet of ships at once to maximize the personnel and cargo capacity for the theoretical Mars trip.  “Ultimately, you want 1,000 ships,” Musk said.

Musk joked that it would be “kind of like Battlestar Galactica, if you’ve seen that thing.”

Red Planet…Mars is an ideal location for a human colony due its proximity and size similarity to Earth. Photo-by: telegraph.co.uk
Red Planet…Mars is an ideal location for a human colony due its proximity and size similarity to Earth. Photo-by: telegraph.co.uk

Musk outlined a target for a sustainable population on Mars later on in the presentation, saying that for a Mars colony, the target number would be 1 million people.  As far as the time frame for Mars colonization, Musk estimated 20-50 Mars rendezvous, which would take 40 to 100 years.

However, this is all still conjecture, and at this point it will be years before any mission to Mars is even feasible.  “If things go super well,” a crewed Mars flight could occur within the “10-year time frame,” Musk anticipated.

So, at least for the immediate future, a mission to Mars is not going to happen.  There is still much to prove in terms of feasibility, and many details to iron out.

Musk echoed this sentiment in the presentation itself, when announcing the name of the first ship.

“I probably will name the first ship that goes to Mars ‘Heart of Gold,’” Musk remarked, making a reference to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Let’s just hope the ships cruise in flights of 42.