Have valuable minerals been found on the surface of mars?

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    Simple answer is: No. There’s not much gold, radioactives, water or anything else of great economic use.

    It’s important to realize that we’ve only directly looked at a very few places on Mars, and those have all been flattish places where it’s easy and safe to land.

    More complicated answer? What’s valuable on Mars is not at all the same as what’s valuable on Earth. Many places on Earth, if you ask someone for free water, their response is likely to be: Ok, how much do you need? On Mars, for Earth explorers of the future, water is like gold. It’s essential to life. Water that we would have to transport from Earth would literally be worth its weight in gold. We don’t know yet how much Mars water will cost to extract.

    You also need to think in context. What if there are 100 caret flawless diamonds on Mars? Well great, but this isn’t some video game or Star Trek episode. How are you going to get them off the planet? Rockets? Great! Where did the rocket fuel come from? If material costs $100,000 / lb to move from Mars to Earth, it will need to be incredibly valuable!

    So, you’re thinking, ok, don’t move minerals from Mars. Use them there. And that makes sense. The minerals that will be valuable on Mars are those that can be used for growing plants, building, and manufacturing.

    Only very far in the future will those 100 caret Martian diamonds have much value. Except perhaps to use as drill bits.

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