Aluminum oxides are abundant on Mars as on Earth. Traditionally aluminum requires high electric power to reduce it from its oxides using electrolysis. Work has been going on for several decades on the carbothermic process, which uses carbon and just thermal power, to try to make it as economical on Earth as electrolytic reduction. If thermal power is cheaper than electric power on Mars relative to Earth, due for example to being more suitable for an import-minimizing economy, the carbothermic process will be relatively more attractive.
- Green, ed., 2007, Aluminum Recycling and Processing, pp. 198-9