Surviving Mars: Waste Rock & Dealing with The Problem
Waste Rock is the bane of the careful Surviving Mars player during most missions, not because it's a huge nuisance but because it keeps their Drones busy and their base messy.
One of the first things you learn in the game past the bare basics is in fact how to deal with Waste Rock.
In order to keep Waste Rock from being scattered all around your extractors, place Dumping Sites nearby for your Drones to stack the waste into one convenient spot. Dumping Sites themselves can be found under the 'Storage' option of the menu, to the far right.
As your extractors continue to pull out Mars' sweet, sweet usable resources, they continue to accumulate Waste Rock. Your storage needs continue to climb as you expand, and in short time your base will be flooded with far more Waste Rock and Dumping Sites than any other material or storage. That's just how it is.
Choosing to salvage your Dump Sites does not get rid of Waste Rock. Instead, the waste will be dumped all on the ground, which does take up far more space than the Sites themselves and is thoroughly not recommended -- until you have another Dumping Site area to store them or unlock a certain technology to get rid of those pesky rocks once and for all.
This is the worst.
How to get rid of Waste Rocks
Yes, my friend. There is a way to get rid of Waste Rock in Surviving Mars. Unfortunately, luck is the determining factor in how long it will take for you to be able to do it.
There's a certain technology that gives your Drones the ability to break Waste Rock down into Concrete. That tech? Waste Rock Liquefaction.
The tech tree is randomized each mission, so there is no telling when you will be able to research Waste Rock Liquefaction, but it is found within the Engineering branch. The amount of Research it costs depends on how deep the tech is in the tree. If you're lucky, it will only cost a few thousand. If not, well ... it'll cost a lot more than that.
Once you've completed the Waste Rock Liquefaction research, your Drones will take it upon themselves to whittle all that pesky rock into usable Concrete, which should allow you to relax on the Concrete production for a while.
Make sure you have sufficient Concrete storage and that you have enough Drones working in the same area as your Dumping Sites before completing this technology. You don't want your regular maintenance to suffer while they're busy with their new task, and you will need a place to put all the Concrete they produce.
With all this in mind, you now have hope that Waste Rock won't be polluting your colony forever. That's something, right? Feel free to check out our other Surviving Mars guides if you're in need of some more space-learnin'.