Mars Colonists Pack for One-Way Trip
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.
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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