From the moment you place down your very first extractor in Surviving Mars, you'll have to deal with Waste Rock. What starts off as a byproduct that's easy to forget about can, however, end up occupying a good chunk of space in your colony.
Although map size isn't necessarily an issue in Surviving Mars, you'll want to be aware of where Waste Rock comes from, how you can turn it into a useful resource, and how you can keep things tidy around your colony. Read on below to find out more.
Regardless if you're extracting water, concrete, metals, or rare metals, the process will also yield quite a bit of Waste Rock. Each extractor can store a limited amount of it before it stops working. All of a sudden, this seemingly unimportant byproduct blocks a part of your production chain, which is never ideal.
Landscaping, introduced in the free Armstrong update, is another way of producing Waste Rock. It also allows you to shape the land around your colony, but doesn't directly solve the issue of having piles of useless rock potentially ruining a beautiful view.
Thankfully, Dumping Sites exist. Placing them in an area serviced by a Drone Hub will automatically prompt your little robotic friends to pick up Waste Rock and move it away from your other buildings. Depending on the resources available and how far your drones can reach, you may want to designate an area for Dumping Sites (or their larger variants, also available with the free Armstrong update) on the outskirts of your colony.
Waste Rock in Surviving Mars has a limited set of uses that don't always come into play in the early game. Researching the Waste Rock Liquefaction technology – found in the Engineering tree – grants access to the Waste Rock Processor building that slowly converts it into Concrete.
Choosing India as your sponsor grants access to the Metals Refinery unique building, that converts Waste Rock into Metals. Go with Brazil – added in the Space Race DLC – and the Rare Metals Refinery unique building will let you turn Waste Rock into Rare Metals. Green Planet DLC owners can use the Carbonate Processor building in the Terraforming tab to convert Waste Rock into CO2.
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