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If you were a Kerbal, would you fly in your own rockets?


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I have been thinking a lot lately about my own risk tolerance level, and while I am playing KSP I naturally start to ask myself whether or not I would actually be willing to fly on some of these missions I send my Kerbals on.

Pretending that I am a Kerbal in the stock game and that I have no needs for anything (food, air, water) that cannot be provided in infinite supply by my command module or my space suit, and assuming that I can time-warp at will in order to avoid years of lonely boredom in transit to another planet, would I really be willing to risk my life on any of these missions I send my Kerbals on? Just how far do I trust my own piloting and navigation abilities (without quick-save and do-overs, and without MechJeb).

When I first started playing the game, the answer would have been an obvious "no" to all missions. But as I've learned to play the game better and started to get a feel for what kinds of things are likely to end tragically and what things are relatively safe, I've decided that there really may be some KSP missions that I feel confident enough about to risk my life on. Of course, it depends greatly on the mission profile. So, here are the missions that I think I could risk my life on and the missions I would have to turn down. What are yours?

1) Landing on Minmus: YES!

Assuming I use a fairly simple craft that has already made several successful unmanned landings on Minmus, I would do this one in a heartbeat! To be able to fly around that amazing landscape with a jet pack would easily be worth the risk of getting there. Landing on Minmus is a breeze, so there isn't much to fear there. My only real concern would be about something going wrong on launch. Which brings me to:

2) Any launch involving solid boosters: HECK NO!

Regardless of whether or not they make the launch more efficient, there is no way I'm getting within 10 miles of one of those trash-cans-of-boom. I have found that the odds of a catastrophic launch increase substantially when I introduce a rocket that I can't turn off. With a liquid-fueled rocket, even if the launch goes haywire for some reason, I'm relatively confident that I can shut everything down, decouple my command module, and parachute to safety. With the solid fuel rockets (even with the bug-fix that keeps them from spinning into my core), if anything at all goes wrong in the launch, I can pretty much kiss my Kerbal life goodbye.

3) Any launch involving an overly-complex rocket monstrosity: No again.

Simple rockets...I could possibly trust with my life. But anything that requires asparagus staging or boosters on boosters...no thanks.

4) Landing on the Mun: Probably not.

Given my landing history on the Mun, statistically I'll *probably* be okay. But I've crashed and burned enough on the Mun that I would probably chicken out before the landing and head home.

5) Landing on Gilly: Absolutely.

In fact, you are probably safer on Gilly than you are staying home on Kerbin. If you trip on Gilly, it would take 5 minutes to hit the ground. I would just have to stay far away from that freaky seam in the planet that spells instant death to those who explore it. The only somewhat scary part would be aero-braking over Eve, but if I choose a conservative altitude, it'll probably be just fine. And I would have a chute on my lander anyway for the return trip home, so if I did get sucked in to Eve, I would probably survive, but I would probably never get home. Which brings me to:

6) Landing on Eve: Nuh uh.

The odds of me hitting one of those tiny high-altitude targets on the first try is next to nil. Although...considering I have infinite time and stamina I could theoretically hike or swim across the planet to climb a peak and be rescued. But...nah.

7) Landing on Moho: Nope.

If I build a rocket with enough Delta-V to get myself to Moho and home again, it's probably not a rocket I would feel safe even sitting in on the launch pad.

8) Landing on Duna: A hesitant yes...

I would have to really sike myself up for this one, but I would probably go for it. My landing success rate on Duna is pretty good, but there are just so many things that can go wrong in that landing...chute deployment tearing the ship apart...thrusting too hard during the powered landing which inadvertently cuts the chutes...coming in at an altitude where the atmosphere is too thin. But if I tested my ship with a couple of unmanned missions first (just to verify that my parachute placement didn't tear the ship apart on deployment), I think I could risk my life on it.

9) Landing on Pol: YES! YES! YES!

In fact, this would be my first destination. I would land on the side that always faces Jool and I would lie on my back on one of the summits of Pol and gaze up at the sky. I would use my time-warp super power to make Jool oscillate through the sky like a giant yo-yo, and I would lie there and watch the other four moons in their never-ending cosmic dance. Then when I needed some activity, I could fire up my jet pack and orbit the planet. The scary parts of this mission would be aero-braking over Jool or possibly getting an accidental encounter with Laythe or Tylo that caused me to waste a lot a fuel. But as long as I choose a conservative altitude to aero-brake, the most likely negative outcome is that I would just run out fuel and have to be rescued. But if I'm the one floating around in space and I'm running the space program, I can always make sure a rescue mission is next on the launchpad.

10) Landing on Bop: Yes.

Very safe to land on, much like Pol. Except the absence of flat spots on Bop kind of weirds me out, so I don't think I would want to stay there very long. I would always be feeling like I didn't have my V8 today.

11) Landing on Tylo: Never in a million Kerbal years.

That moon is just giant death trap.

12) Landing on Laythe: I probably shouldn't...but IT'S LAYTHE!

It's even-money odds that I miss my target and land in the ocean. And even if I miss the ocean, it's even-money odds again that my lander rolls down a slope and is permanently disabled. But even knowing all that, I still might be tempted to take my chances and go for the beach vacation. Of course, by day 7 of swimming for land (with my infinite stamina), I'll probably be rethinking the whole decision.

13) Landing on Eeloo, Dres, or Vall: No, thanks.

They just don't make the cut in the risk-reward analysis. I would probably make it there and home okay, but the landings aren't a cake walk. And why would I want to go there anyway?

14) Anything involving rovers on any planet: Not for me.

I have never yet had a rover-driving experience that didn't end with a ball of explosions tumbling across the terrain. (Then again, maybe I just always play with my rovers until they crash. So, maybe that's the only way a rover session *can* end.) Anyway, I'll drive them remotely, but I'm certainly not getting in the seat.

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If the mission had some serious planning and testing simulations done, sure, why not? The only time I managed to kill someone (in a non-revert non-quicksave career) was on the Mun, because "lol it's just the Mun, who needs math and planning" and "well... If I suicide burn right now, the rescue vessel should land right next to the stranded capsu... *BOOM*" ...It wasn't a rescue vessel, it was a manned missile. Both kerbals have an in memoriam flag planted on the Mun.

But lets be real here, if I was a kerbal, would I actually have a choice?

The hired crew (pilots, engineers, scientists) are probably not designing anything, that's Wernher von Kerman and his team's job. Likewise, the designers are probably not flying their horrible contraptions of death crafts, but rather get the expendable crew to fly it for them.

...Why do you think most of them are so terrified all the time? (the ones that laugh are just insane)

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Vall is amazing! The views are great if you have ever been there, and also this:
The Vall henge is nice to see

Well, then. I may just reconsider Vall. I'm heading to Jool right now, so I think I'll stop by. The couple of times I've been there I wasn't very impressed, but I'll give it another look.

Oh...And thanks for taking the time to read my entire lengthy post. :)

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Not until the craft has a dozen flights under its belt, because I tend to fix stuff on the go and first versions of things are basically death traps - especially if new concepts (wing shapes, landers, engines...) are present. But anything that has gone through several flights is usually as reliable as possible. So yes, I'd fly my own craft, but I'd let Jeb have the honor of first flight.

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So I wake up at the start of a kerbin sunrise..insulated by my spacesuit from the cold morning..

I eat breakfast...BIRDS...the only other life form on kerbin besides kerbals and...jeb

leaving my house... a patch of grass with a flag that reads "my house"... 30km from KSC.. the only buildings on kerbin besides charred remains of space parts

on this not too bright morning a train is taken from my house to KSC..

Shes a Landliner KS3 class overland train....or as some would say.. a widowmaker.. as evident by the markings on the side of the locomotive..

"Mark 3" that tells me atleast 3 of this kind of train existed before this one..

no one ever sees a fleet of trains lined up so...of course the other two must have followed the kerbal tradition.. becoming one with the fire, explosions and screaming...terrible screaming!

life on kerbin is bleak..


in contrast the mun is made of cheese where one never has to eat a bird..

minmus is made of mint icecream

and duna a giant ball of cinnamon candy

would i get onboard any rocket

to escape kerbin


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Yeah, I think I would, with a few extra precautions. Let's say I launch a colossal interplanetary mothership UNCREWED into orbit, controlled by its probe core(s). Once it's in stable orbit and everything looks safe, my buddies and I get into a spaceplane (that has been tested uncrewed and works fine) and fly comfortably up to a rendezvous, transfer over to the bridge of the mothership, and send the spaceplane back down on autopilot.

Orbit is halfway to anywhere, and from then on it's smooth sailing. I can always test whether a landing is safe by sending the lander down uncrewed first (of course it has a probe core; for as little as 30 kg, why wouldn't it?), and thanks to my extensive network of automated karbonite mines on Minmus, Pol*, and Gilly**, fuel is not a limitation. Furthermore, when we get to Laythe there will be an orbital hotel, a beach resort, a rover, and a spaceplane already waiting for us--what a vacation!

* in progress

** eventually

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Absolutely I would. If you build your rockets correctly the Kerbal variety are much more safe than ours. No engine failures, no engine explosions. I almost never lose a crew in game and even on rare occasions when I crash usually my Kerbals survive.

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