At Forrest Bird Charter High, several students have chosen to partake in painting an art mural in an alley in downtown Sandpoint.
For their community project, students of Forrest Bird Charter School collaborate to paint a massive mural of a whale floating through a space setting.
Through these past few days, kids have been painting this mural for the community to inspire citizens in an artistic way. From the beginning of May, these groups of students have worked diligently on the beautiful mural to now, working in the mornings and even after school. Anna, Sloan, Drew, Ariel, Kiley, Colleen, Daniel, and Brandon have all worked on this mural and intend to create a full piece containing not only the whales, but octopi, jellyfish, starfish, and eels.
Though this mural was thought up by Sloan, all are contributing with their amazing artistic abilities. Because the mural is so large and only halfway finished for the project, these eight FBCS students will be working through the summer to make the art piece even better than it already is. On Oak Street, nearby Finnan McDonald, the mural is located for all Sandpoint citizens to see in one of the well-known art alleys.
The students chose to paint a mural because they wanted to bring art into the community. Many believe street art is simple graffiti, or vandalizing, but Sandpoint is also known for being open to community art. They hope to impact the next generations in an artistic way and bring light to Sandpoint and its citizens. From the FBCS students working on the mural, they state the title of the mural will not be released until the hours they have to meet on the project are over. Until then, the mural will be a mystery.
“…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.
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.”
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.