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luminescent8 karma

Do modern garbage dumps represent useful concentrations of metals for a hypothetical future post-apocalyptic recovery of civilizations, or are they simply unpleasant sources of groundwater contamination? Do you think it would be viable to start a second industrial revolution from scratch given the current status of raw materials? I'm assuming that most of the earth's most convenient surface ores (such as Greenland's cryolite) have already been fully exploited.

luminescent3 karma

Have you read Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars series of novels? The ecological protection of Mars (including preservation from earth microbes) is a major theme that is explored.

luminescent1 karma

Thanks, I've always wondered about that! Unrelated additional question:

Do you think that there are regions on Mars that have yet to be explored by rovers where we are significantly more likely to find evidence of life? Is there any reason to expect a mission to polar regions that could drill ice, and would that be an interesting destination from the point of view of an astrobiologist? I don't really know how long ice persists in those areas on Mars and whether it is likely to have formed a lengthy record similar to Antarctic ice on Earth, but I'm surprised it doesn't seem to have been considered.