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Mars Colonists Pack for One-Way Trip

Updated on March 10, 2019
Mars pioneer Ron Grigio tests a jetpack in the Grand Canyon.
Mars pioneer Ron Grigio tests a jetpack in the Grand Canyon. | Source

Meet the Pioneers

The Mars pioneer group training in the Grand Canyon includes:

· Ron Grigio, a vintner and retired land surveyor from Napa Valley, CA

· Elaine Scott, a seamstress and multimedia artist from Phoenix, AZ

· Jacob Scott, a small aircraft mechanic from Phoenix, AZ

· Jolie Warner, a school psychologist and former teacher from Chicago, IL.

Mars colonist-to-be Jacob Scott test drives a vehicle near Grand Canyon Village in Arizona.
Mars colonist-to-be Jacob Scott test drives a vehicle near Grand Canyon Village in Arizona. | Source
Future Mars pioneer Elaine Scott tinkers with a Mars lander in the Arizona desert.
Future Mars pioneer Elaine Scott tinkers with a Mars lander in the Arizona desert. | Source
TV Land is supplying the full "I Dream of Jeannie" series to Mars pioneers.
TV Land is supplying the full "I Dream of Jeannie" series to Mars pioneers.
Mariner Valley on Mars is ten times longer than the Grand Canyon. From end to end it's about the distance from Los Angeles to New York City.
Mariner Valley on Mars is ten times longer than the Grand Canyon. From end to end it's about the distance from Los Angeles to New York City. | Source

Exclusive Interview Reveals Pioneers' Unexpected Cravings

June 22, 2022 -- Grand Canyon Village, AZ -- The calendar only shows June 2022, but passengers scheduled for the Mars 2023 flight are already packing their luggage. At the very least, they’re making lists and checking them... thrice? “I’ve changed my choice of sweaters three times in one day,” admitted Mars pioneer Elaine Scott. Santa Cruz News Network met with Elaine and three of her future neighbors as they trained in Grand Canyon National Park for the Mars trip.

Pioneers Discuss Hairwashing, Beards & Shaving on Mars

The foursome had already been living lightly on the land for five weeks when I arrived for our interview. Still, they looked more refreshed than the Grand Canyon tourists I’d seen a few miles back. I opened our chat with a comment about their almost irritating good looks.

SCNN: Forgive me for maybe underestimating you, but you all look remarkably fantastic and rested. I mean, for city people suddenly living without your basics… You look almost glamorous with the tanned skin and these flowing white get-ups.

RON: [laughs] The breaking point is usually around day fifteen. The novelty of living so ruggedly has worn off and you start to miss whatever it is that you miss. Surfing. Messing with engines. But then you adjust and it gets exciting again to think, “Hey, we really are pioneers.” Even if right now we’re just in the Grand Canyon, not in Mariner Valley on Mars.

JOLIE: For me the problem was adjusting to temperature. That’s going to be an issue for me on the shuttle and on Mars. But when I figure out my layers, I’m comfortable anywhere.

ELAINE: And living out here, we all realized that shampoo is a scam. Once you break the cycle of washing so often, your scalp stops producing oil to compensate. So you get into this groove where you really look fine and aren’t offensive.

JACOB: I concur, as Elaine’s husband and tentmate. But my beard is a problem.

SCNN: What is the problem with your beard?

JACOB: I’d rather not shave out here, honestly. But the ZZ Top look isn’t good on me.

Razors vs. Lasers

SCNN: Your desert island list, or desert planet list, it would include a lifetime supply of razors?

JOLIE: For the men, yes. The women, we’re actually thinking about laser hair removal before we leave. And I’m not a girly girl. But I don’t want to think about being stubbly or hairy in a spacesuit. It grosses me out. And just all the time it takes to shave… Let’s just get rid of it once and for all!

RON: We joke that this is why aliens always look hairless. The women start this trend of hair removal.

Samsonite Not Allowed

SCNN: What kind of bags do you pack for a one-way Mars trip? I’m imagining a space shuttle full of duffle bags, but that seems rather naïve.

RON: The company is still devising special travel gear.

ELAINE: Almost everything we take to Mars needs to be reusable or permanently useful. Once we arrive, normal Samsonite suitcases would just take up space because really, where would we go on vacation at that point? So the luggage will be all really useful containers.

RON: Some suitcases will be made of seeds that we’ll eventually plant on Mars. Some suitcases unzip into tarps. It’s all very MacGyver.

A Bag Limit?

SCNN: How much space are you each allotted?

JOLIE: That’s still being figured out. We think it will be a generous amount, or at least reasonable.

ELAINE: Obviously, we can get supplies or special cravings from Earth in occasional shipments. But when you suddenly want a certain book with your Post-It notes in it, or an amazing chocolate bar with sea salt, you don’t want it to be six months away.

RON: Colonization is a test in preparedness and patience.

The Settlers' Desert Planet Lists

SCNN: Having lived out here in the Grand Canyon now, do you have a different sense of what you should be packing for Mars?

JACOB: I need to rethink my metal toolboxes. They work in a normal human climate but out here they get hot enough to burn you.

JOLIE: I like junk food more than I realized. Before this trip, I would’ve said that Mars was a good opportunity to eat healthy. Now I’m just wanting to pack all kinds of crazy artificial food. It’s awful. I'll miss Cool Ranch Doritos.

ELAINE: If she can reuse the little foil bags, she can bring her Doritos. I want clay for pottery. They’ve laughed at me out here, how I dig around for clay to play with. I have no idea what the clay situation will be on Mars. It might be awesome. Red Martian clay. But I’m still going to want certain Earth clays.

JACOB: And we did brainstorm about TV shows around the fire a few nights. That was kind of surprising because none of us are much into TV as a daily habit. But we’re finding out what people have, what we like in common.

JOLIE: TV Land is providing all the episodes of I Dream of Jeannie, which has the astronaut theme.

SCNN: And you, Ron Grigio? What’s unexpected on your packing list for Mars?

RON: Wine. Obviously we’ll produce wine on Mars and maybe export it. But in those years before we bottle Martian reds, we’ll want plenty of Earth wine ready to go.


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    • SantaCruz profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Santa Cruz, CA

      Puma, such a beautiful sentiment about restoring Mars! What a beautiful time-lapse from above that would be, watching a rocky planet blossom... I think it's plausible. And animal life too. Maybe there is abundant life in a Martian cave somewhere? Or in the water, for sure... Microbes that survive on Earth today developed under very harsh circumstances with little protection from solar rays, kinda like on Mars today maybe? So it's plausible that the tiniest life is up there. Besides that, I've seen a report of ladybugs and bees living miles up in the sky! Advanced creatures can live in weird atmospheres.

      Thanks for stopping by :-).

    • SantaCruz profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Santa Cruz, CA

      Jaya, why not make some seed suitcases yourself? I've seen your innovations :-).

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Mars. Our much anticipated reclaiming of this planet and all it holds may just be enough to open our minds and perhaps right our Earthly wrongs. Are we too late to restore the last remaining flora and fauna, forests and lakes of this old home? Can we decipher the ancient evidences most likely put in place by none other than ourselves? Will we be wise enough to embrace the notion of "only what we bring with us" as we return? Whether discarded for Earthly gains or abandoned under cataclysmic duress, Mars survives. And it feels good to be back.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i love the seed-infused suitcases. i hope they make those available here on earth. once again, great balanced reporting on a subject that has flown under the radar of the lame-stream media. i'm keeping my browser tuned to SCNN!!!


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