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About AndrewBCrisp

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    Spacecraft Engineer
  1. A-hah! This sounds useful. I don't think I've run into a situation where I've needed this function before, but it's good to know it's there. Thanks to @Tex_NL and @bewing for your answers!
  2. So: I'm adapting well to the new CommNet, but there's something I don't quite understand. The right-click context menu for antennae while in flight reveals two or three buttons depending on the antenna. "Extend Antenna" and "Transmit Data" buttons are pretty self-explanatory, but there's another that has me befuddled: "Require Complete". I've found no explanation in any of the documentation so far on what this button is or what it does. Can anyone satisfy my curiosity about this? What does the "Require Complete" button do?
  3. I haven't seen a list elsewhere (yet), but along the equator, I've detected the following stations: KSC (natch) Harvester Massif, Nye Island, and Crater Rim. For those wanting to visit Harvester Massif, it's in a mountainous region, so bring climbing rope.
  4. Only one way to find out! That said... I'm looking at those two small side boosters, and I'm wondering about their exhaust. If those boosters fire with everything else, could their exhaust overheat the core stage? If so, you could be looking at an explosive ending to your mission.
  5. Technologically speaking, I would say "no." Minmus is essentially an asteroid, size and gravity wise, so there would be no new developments re: landers. Likewise, the greater distance from Earth compared to the Moon would not be any great obstacle with the technology available at the time. I'm figuring things off the top of my head here, so expect inaccuracies, but it strikes me that a "real equivilent" to Minmus might see a similar increase in travel time with respect to travelling to the Moon. In KSP, going to the Mun (one-way) takes less than a day, and going to Minmus takes between 6 and 8 days. In reality, going to the Moon (one way) takes three days, so travel to a "real Minmus" would take around 18 to 24 days, with a round trip on the order of 40-50 days. That's a long time to be cooped up in the same Apollo capsule, even with a lander to serve as a "second room", so the big change I would see would be the need for extra living space. Essentially, imagine Skylab with an engine and a lander module attached, and you have a spacecraft capable of reaching "rMinmus". In reality, Skylab held people comfortably for up to 60 days at a time, so such a voyage would certainly be within its capabilities. Thus, such a voyage would neither need nor spur developments in life-support technology beyond what was already present in the 1970s. The only thing I can imagine such a voyage would do might be to get some extra life out of the Saturn-V launch vehicle, as Skylab is still a fairly hefty spacecraft even if only to put in orbit, and sending it on a voyage to the Moon or "rMinmus" would require more fuel and engine power than the Apollo missions needed. There would be as much of a price tag of sending humans to "rMinmus" as sending them to the moon, so the final question becomes: would we bother? Assuming the political situation in our alternate history is unchanged, then by the time humans land on the Moon, the Russians would already have given up their lunar dreams, and perforce would have given up dreams of landing cosmonauts on "rMinmus" as well. So without the impetus of "Beat the Russians", I suspect that any proposals to send humans to "rMinmus" would have gone the way of later Apollo mission proposals: precisely nowhere. We would probably send probes, but we were already launching interplanetary probes successfully in the 1960s, so again, no great technological breakthroughs. So, no, I don't think an "rMinmus" would have let us be more advanced or more established in space than we are already. We might have learned more about near-Earth asteroids sooner, but I expect that we wouldn't turn our attention to "rMinmus" again until the time comes for us to start sending humans to the planets in earnest.
  6. I spent some time today trying to build a shuttle-like spacecraft out of Mk-2 spaceplane parts. This was my latest and most successful attempt: The new crew shuttle prototype. The craft is able to reach space, and with some effort, reach orbit, but I'm finding some issues with the design. Noteably, the center of mass and center of thrust start to send the spacecraft in cartwheels not long after the shuttle clears the atmosphere. I'm forced to jettison the core booster before it exhausts its fuel and rely on the shuttle's onboard fuel to reach orbit... which so far leaves the shuttle with too little fuel for a safe re-entry and landing. And if I'm not careful when jettisoning the booster, this happens: An early failure... during a "computer simulation". No actual kerbals were harmed. Honest. I'm considering alternate booster designs, and might test those in the coming week. But I hope to resolve this problem soon... I'm at the limit with what I can do with capsules, and really want a better option for delivering more than 3 kerbals to orbit.
  7. When last I checked in, I'd been slowly building my Kerbin Orbital Station as a high-orbit transfer point for missions to Mun and Minmus. The KOS is serving nicely as a science platform, but as a stable docking and refuelling platform... not so much. Far too much wobble to keep things together for long, insufficient places for spacecraft or fuel tanks to dock effectively. Therefore, we need a new station. I'm now partway through constructing KOS 2: The core section is much more stable, even with the solar and radiator arrays attached. No crews aboard station so far, but I've also brought up my first Crew Transfer Vehicle, a 6-kerbal transporter with sufficient delta-V to travel to either the Mun or Minmus and back again without refuelling. A second CTV will be going up shortly, along with fuel modules and habitats. Of course, the CTVs work best if there's a space station at their destinations as well, and I've had a Minmus station contract that needs attention; so... ...I lofted the Minmus Station core and parked it in a 30 km orbit.
  8. Of course, that assumes that "being the biggest jerk" as you so aptly put it is an optimal survival strategy. It's tempting, but I suspect that it is not feasible over the long run... or else locusts would have driven everything larger than them to extinction long ago. Earthly biology shows that species that replicate without limit usually either have high attrition rates (ensuring only a few survive long enough to have offspring) or risk destroying themselves by burning through the available food faster than is sustainable. How this might play out on a galactic scale is a tough question to answer, as we know little or nothing about what might serve as "natural" checks on VNP population. But I would also suggest that those civilizations that chose not to be jerks might soon find it in their interest to start culling jerk-minded VNPs (and their parent civilizations); especially if they've been on the receiving end of a jerk-class VNP. I would hope that most civilizations that survive long enough to design and build a VNP will also see the folly of being jerks to the galaxy. Or, to quote Commander Norton from Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, "The human race has to live with its conscience. [Whatever the Hermians argue,] survival is not everything."
  9. I'd like to "third" the workshop idea. Perhaps Workshops can function with broken parts the same way the MPL functions with experiments, allowing you to repair broken components so long as they are attached to the ship/station/base, without the engineer needing to go on EVA? Another possibility for a Workshop would be for probe/satellite/rover construction and repurposing. Think of a mini-VAB which can be loaded with a limited number of parts. This version of a Workshop would have a "cargo bay" into which a satellite or rover could be placed. The satellite can then be "dismantled" and the parts appear in the editor to be used to build something else. Parts that are not used stay in the Workshop until they are either used in a future project or discarded. This way, you can "recycle" satellites that have outlived their usefulness (without needing to "recover" them), or load the Workshop up with a special parts satellite delivered from Kerbin and then design your next satellite or probe "in the field" as it were.
  10. With respect, Someguy12, to suggest that any alien intelligences capable of building VNPs would choose to release what amounts to a technological plague on the galaxy speaks very poorly of our hypothetical aliens' ethics. Surely they are at least a little wiser than that. But even if aliens have chosen the low road, caring for nothing but themselves, does not mean that we should do likewise.
  11. Safe replication is not my concern, per se. It is important to consider, and you raise a good point that runaway replication can be guarded against, but my argument (and Keith Cooper's) is that the probe must be responsible. I believe that checking for civilizations and establishing contact must be the first thing on a VNP's "to-do" list as soon as it enters a target system, rather than (if I read your response correctly), as a side activity to replication / colonization prep. An argument can be made that the resources of another star system, if the system has a life-bearing planet, belongs to the present or future civilization on said planet. If the first thing our probe did was to make more copies of itself as soon as it arrives, the native civilization may see that as stealing. I cannot imagine they will approve, or be receptive to the probe making contact later on. (As an analogy, imagine I entered your home without knocking or asking permission, and immediately helped myself to the contents of your fridge. You'd be pretty ticked at me, I'd suspect. An alien civilization would behave similarly to a probe mooching off a few asteroids... and may be doubly ticked at the civilization that sent it). As for pre-industrial civilizations, or even planets where sentient life has yet to evolve, again courtesy plays a role here. Suppose a VNP arrived in our solar system a million years ago. No human civilization was around, and by your criteria, the VNP would then decide that it can do whatever it wants with the resources of our system, and digs in. Maybe it's makers are still interested and decide to send some colonists along as well. By the time we reach the present age, when our civilization is slowly getting interested in expanding into space, we'd find that we've been crowded out or that all the good resources have been used up. We might be able to settle the inner planets, but everything else is occupied or consumed. The native peoples of North America can tell you what that's like, to have your future cut off by another civilization. I believe we need to be more responsible than that, which means that if our future probe is to replicate without asking permission, it should limit its numbers - two or three probes to send to other stars at most - and cease replicating altogether once those two or three probes are on their way. So long as the probe can maintain itself, it can afford to be patient, waiting millions of years if need be before someone it can talk to evolves and starts exploring. Either way, the probe would need to wait until it can contact with a native civilization and engage in a cultural exchange. Then, and only then, can it ask for permission from the natives to replicate, and do so only if the natives agree. Incidentally, as probes might continue on in a chain from system to system for millenia, and thus contact with the parent civilization is likely to dry up, the probe will likely need a true AI for its brain - not just to make the judgement call on to replicate or not, but also to interact with the native civilization on its own and to negotiate for permission to replicate so it can expand the network. A possible trade is to offer to carry an AI modeled off the natives, so that the natives' culture can be carried to the next star, as payment for the asteroids needed to build those two or three VNPs.
  12. Yesterday, I sent another mission to Minmus to get some detailed survey data at a place called "Engineer's Trench". Past missions to Minmus and the Mun have used a specialized lander and separate spacecraft, but that approach was pretty costly and the lander designs not very efficient, so I went with a direct ascent, all-in-one spacecraft this time. It worked pretty well... apart from almost landing on a huge rock on final descent. Okay, who put that rock there? The science data gained finally allowed me to unlock the HECS-II probe core, and so today I sent up my first Sentinel telescope: Sentinel 1 lifts off the pad. Sentinel 1 in low Kerbin orbit, just prior to its Kerbin escape burn. The telescope is now on its way to a Kerbolar orbit near Eve, and will be joined by two others over the coming year.
  13. Welcome to the forums, Konii! That message is the same regardless of whatever difficulty level you play at, and as others have noted, is nothing to worry about. Just transmit or recover the results as you would with any other experiment. Only, don't let Werhner see the shorted electronics. I did and he still putters about the lab muttering curses...
  14. I'd like to focus on this item here. As SomeGuy12 mentions, the existence of bacteria proves that Von Neumann machines are possible. But here, we now move from the discussion of "is this possible?" to "is this responsible". Or - referencing the article I linked to earlier - do we want replicators or explorers? Which would we rather come into contact with? A Von Neumann Probe - I'm just going to refer to them as VNP, as it's easier to type - will certainly need resources if it is to replicate, but replication may not be the best action for it once it reaches a target star. After all, the star's planets may be inhabited, and even if we take the precaution of hard-wiring "don't eat the natives" into the original VNP before launch, the natives may see things differently once the VNP starts chomping rocks and spitting out more copies of itself with out so much as a "by your leave?". We can certainly imagine the response our world's leaders might give if, say, tomorrow astronomers report they've detected an alien probe busily replicating in our asteroid belt. So if exploration and contact are the point of sending out VNPs, we need them to be smart enough to not only recognize if a system is inhabited, but also to make contact and to ask permission to replicate. If permission is given, or if there's nobody to get permission from, but there are planets where civilization could develop, the VNP must also be smart enough to limit its numbers. It would not do to spare a civilization but gobble up all of the off-planet resources that civilization may one day need. This will certainly increase the complexity of any VNP sent out, but fortunately we can scale up. As Cooper's article states, we will likely work with VNPs first as miners in our system, and can gradually expand their capabilities to interstellar explorer-grade as we go along. But if there's an alien VNP patiently waiting in our system, our miner VNPs will need to be smart enough to recognize them and hold off, rather than attempt to eat our first alien visitor. Recognizing an artifact as a "do not eat" priority should be a lot easier than recognizing a civilization, and can serve as the ethical foundations our future explorer probes will need if they are to replicate responsibly.