Re: Mission at end?
"It is useless in a hostile, if not deadly environment, where every scrap of material has to be imported against a huge gravity well"
The thing about planets is that there's already quite a lot of material already on them. Early explorers may need to take everything with them, but any kind of long term presence will have to figure out how to make use of the resources already there. Which means at no point is there any use in dismantling a rover or two - either you have everything with you and relying on salvage means you've already fucked up incredibly badly (The Martian was fiction, even the author happily admits that there would have been no hope of survival in reality), or you're using an entire planet's worth of resources and the stuff in a single rover is meaningless.