Fengist

The Elcano Challenge : Ground-based circumnavigation

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The Elcano Challenge

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.†– Robert Frost

Juan Sebastián Elcano (1476 – 4 August 1526) was a Spanish Basque explorer who completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth. After Magellan's death in the Philippines, Elcano took command of the nau Victoria in the Moluccas and returned to Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain, completing the circumnavigation started by Magellan.

This challenge is simple. So simple, it's easy. Well, it sounds easy. Those of us who have completed it, would probably disagree.

I now challenge you to become the next Elcano. I challenge you to do what no one, or very few have done. I challenge you to circumnavigate an orbital body, be it moon or planet, solely by ground and/or water.

The rules are simple:

Basically, you are to circumnavigate, either equatorially or via a polar path. Your path should not diverge significantly from the intended direction. You may do as I did and mark your path via flags. Or you may provide ample proof via screen shots. Using ScanSat BTDT (Been there done that) scanners also works provided you don't have a bunch of different vessels with BTDT.

Plant a flag at your beginning spot and return to that flag... the long way around.

1. Stay on the ground or on (or below) the surface of any water present. (BRIEF jumps over dunes and such permitted.)

2. Your vehicle must be Kerballed.

3. The same vehicle that crosses the land, must also cross water. No ferrying your vehicle on a boat.

4. To document your journey via images, or as those of us who have manage to complete this feat, by words or both.

5. Mods are acceptable, those who complete this stock will have it noted. I don't think far or near will come into play. You may use Jeb if you wish for it's 'rover' heading controls. If you read the account of my circumnavigation, you'll find an alternative to Jeb.

6. You may use replacement vehicles. If you read of my circumnavigation of Eve, you'll see why I allow this. Game mechanics are not kind to ground vehicles. Your crew must be transferred to any replacement vehicle and it must be very similar to the original. I understand this is a learning process... trust me on that... and I'll allow some design changes.

7. You may use aerial recon vehicles.

8. You may refuel if needed.

9. Saving and reloading. Yes, you may do F9/F5. But if your vehicle is complex, like mine was when I circumnavigated Eve, I suggest you read over my journey to see what happened as a result.

10. Asteroids or orbital bodies introduced to the Kerbol system via a plugin will not be considered valid orbital bodies for this challenge. Only stock planets and moods are acceptable.

11. Any rule I haven't thought of that breaks the spirit of this challenge.

This challenge is not for the feint of heart. It will take persistence and a great deal of patience. If you're the competitive type and think of this challenge as a race, it will get boring really quick. If you look at it as I and Wooks did, as an adventure, you'll find plenty to keep you entertained.

Since this is challenge is more about the journey than reaching the destination, feel free to create a thread in Mission Reports so that everyone can share in it. It doesn't matter whether it fails or not, everyone there loves to read the stories, even the sad ones.

Good luck and um... Godspeed....

And before you grumble about how long this will take... think back at how many hours you spent doing other things in KSP that ended up being less rewarding...

Advice to explorers

I'm still testing a theory but, I highly suspect that issues I've had with ground based vehicles while doing extended, multi-save and restore missions are caused by quicksaving while the vehicle is in motion. On two missions I've had hugely misaligned parts. Gravitational and motion stresses on ground-based vehicles are a LOT more than spacecraft. If you quicksave while a part is misaligned due to these stresses and then reload, you just doomed your vessel to a corrupt save. Again, it's a theory I'm testing but it sure sounds plausible.

Circumnavigators

Planetary Circumnavigators

Those who have circumnavigated both Kerbin & Eve

Elcano Planetary Resize.png

None Yet.


Master Mariner Circumnavigators

Those who have circumnavigated both Kerbin & Laythe

Click HERE for details on this specific award.

Elcano Mariner Resize.png

  • Claw - Stock - Completed both Kerbin and Laythe water circumnavigations!
  • nigelvn - Mods - Completed both Kerbin and Laythe water circumnavigations!
  • RexKramer - Stock - Completed both Kerbin and Laythe water circumnavigations!


Elcano Kerbin Resize.png

Elcano Kerbin Resize Prop.png

  • Wooks - Stock (I'm pretty sure) - I believe the first to circumnavigate Kerbin by ground, leaving some 70 Kerbals in his wake. Techinically, Wooks broke rule 3 by using boats. But, since he is the first I know of to prove it could be done, I'll allow him some room. Anyone else, no dice.
  • Slam_Jones - Stock - A jet powered, single Kerbal, amphibious monofoil refueled by a VTOL, Slam's EOS Bike X completed a circumnavigation of Kerbin.
  • Geschosskopf - Mods - For a man who's more at home flying on Duna, he makes an impressive Kerbin pontoon.
  • Squiggsy - Mods - And how would you surmount a vertical ice shelf?
  • Claw - Stock - The famous moderator takes a cockroach on a water based circumnavigation of Kerbin. Who knew cockroaches could swim that well?
  • Hagen von Tronje - Mods - In an attempt to circumnavigate every orbital body in the Elcano, Hagen found the solution to one of the big problems, pontoons.
  • Rex Kramer - Stock - Broken parts and flat tires. All part of what it takes to get a Mk3 rover around Kerbin.
  • Bubbadevlin - Mods - How many intakes does it take to make a rover float?
  • nigelvn - Mods - It's better to look good than to feel good and what better way to look good circumnavigating... than in a yacht.
  • RexKramer - Stock - I'm still not sure what to call this thing... an airliner on a park bench? But it seems to circumnavigate well.
  • Azimech - Mods - Ok, this one is definitely a Pontiac. Minus the fins.


Elcano Mun Resize.png

  • RocketPilot573 - Stock - How do you make sure you don't pop balloon tires while circumnavigating the moon? Landing gear of course.
  • Hotaru - Stock - One incredibly detailed excursion around the Mun.
  • B-STRK - Mods - If you like Kerbal dialogue, you'll love this circumnavigation, including the flipping incident.
  • damerell - Mods - Damerell took a lesson from Volvo in the 1980's: Big and boxy, but good.
  • Claw - Stock - Flat tires, crashed rovers and dragons... all part of Claw's circumnavigation of the Mun.


Elcano EVE Resize.png

  • NoPanShabuShabu - Mods - A polar excursion of Eve, including a stop at it's very pointy north pole.
  • Fengist - Mods - A very screwy circumnavigation that used 1 replacement vehicle in the process. I lost count of how many hours it took... yes, that many.


Elcano Duna Resize.png

  • Brotoro - Stock - Tested out the 'new' rover parts back in 2013 by driving AROUND Duna. Though he did this un-Kerballed, I mention him here because he was apparently the first, to do any circumnavigation of any planet by land. His quote as to why he did it, sums up this challenge, "I made the trip for the same reason Roald Amundsen went to the South Pole, and .... Rutan and Jeana Yeagar flew non-stop around the world without refueling, and Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay climbed to the summit of Mount Everest... just because I could."
  • Hagen von Tronje - Mods - Completing yet another circumnavigation, Hagen takes on the bloody eyeball, something no one has attempted in years!
  • Claw - Stock - 2 Kerbals, a bashed up rover and flying rocks. Claw completes a polar circumnavigation of Duna.


Elcano Laythe Resize.png

  • Juzeris - Mods - Expecting an easy yachting experience, Juzeris and his crew discovered that boating their way around Laythe wasn't as easy as expected.
  • Claw - Stock - The moderator with the most barnacles, Claw becomes the first not only to circumnavigate 2 orbital bodies, he does both by water.
  • nigelvn - Mods - nigelvn completed a circumnavigation of Laythe with one of the most amazing mods created by one of the most humble mod creators. Using Maritime Pack he cruised his yacht around Laythe to include a long distance fuel delivery. Loads of pics.
  • smjjames - Mods - And another boat fanatic takes to the waves and circumnavigates Laythe... though you may have trouble finding the ship for all the engines.
  • RexKramer - Stock - Well, it doesn't exactly look like a boat but hey, when you go stock, you can't be picky.


Elcano Minmus Resize.png

  • Jean Deaux - Stock - Jean decided that instead of bringing spare parts, he'd just bring spare rovers. Landing 3 of his Ark III rovers on Minmus in one operation he drove one around the poles of Minmus.
  • damerell - Mods - Using a Kerbal Foundries based rover, damerell found Minmus wasn't as easy to circumnavigate as expected.
  • Spudman2 - Stock - Ok, so he spent a lot of time driving with a flat tire. Who knew Minmus had sharp rocks.
  • Hagen von Tronje - Mods - Hagen is a masochist after my own heart. He's attempting to circumnavigate every orbital body and he's completed Minmus.
  • Claw - Stock - Trading in his cockroach for a dune buggy, Claw completes his third circumnavigation. I think he's testing me to see what badge I come up with for circumnavigating all orbital bodies.
  • xendelaar - Mods - While Gilly's terrain may lack color, Xendelaar lit it up like a Xmas tree.
  • The Cardinal - Mods - A man after my own heart. A circumnavigation in a rover that's entirely too big. There's no such thing as excess in KSP.
  • Azimech - Mods - Aside from all the extra wheels, it kinda looks like a 70's Mopar product. But hey, we can't all afford Cadillac's.
  • Dfthu - Stock - Busted wheels, an explosion or two, Kraken in the terrain... all the usual things you'd find in a cirucmnavigation.


Elcano MOHO Resize.png

  • Xannari Ferrows - Mods - While brave enough to attempt a circumnavigation of Moho with a rover based on a stock rover body and balloon tires, I have to wonder what the Dracula music in the background represents.


Elcano Vall Resize.png

  • Solune - Mods - After losing numerous wheels and having to replace his rover at least once, Solune completed a circumnavigation of Vall, including a stop at at least one anomaly and a flag planting at the pole.


Elcano Gilly Resize.png

  • Teilnehmer - Stock - Teilnehmer discovered that one of the biggest challenges to driving around Gilly was staying ON the ground.
  • ryan234abc - Stock - Another brave explorer who has discovered the low gravity of Gilly presents it's own challenges.
  • ghostbuzzer7 - Mods - Ghost found the easy way to cross Gilly, with a big sail... or was that a solar panel?


Elcano Eloo Resize.png

  • nigelvn - Stock - Not a lot of dialogue but gobs of pictures!


Elcano%20Ike%20Resize.png


  • [*=left]
Claw - Stock - Claw discovers a Kraken portal while making yet another polar circumnavigation, this time... of Ike.


Elcano%20Pol%20Resize.png


  • [*=left]
TheCardinal - Mods - Now this is my kinda rover. Big, boxy.... kinda like an old Volvo, except for the tracks.


Circumnavigation Videos: Some inspiration for you.

Wooks circumnavigating Kerbin

My circumnavigation of Eve

Edited by Fengist

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how patient were you? with the speeds land/water vehicles travel(usually between 25-100m/s) it would take days to circumnavigate a body like kerbin. I for one am not going to attempt this one since I lost my patience long ago, back in school...

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I believe it took me 9 or 10 'sessions' to actually drive it. Another day to replace the screwed up vehicle. Some days were only a couple of hours, others were 8 and 10 hour marathon driving sessions.

I looked at it this way. Two of the biggest, longest challenges out today are the Jool 5 and the Grand Tour. Those not something you do in one setting either. That and LOTS of people have done those. I know of only one guy who's driven around Duna... but he didn't document it.

It doesn't have to be done in one day. Do it as you have an hour or two. It took Wooks MONTHS to circumnavigate Kerbin. But he did it.

Edited by Fengist

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the problem is, when exploring the entire kerbolar system you actually have something to do on your hands: build rockets, launch things, steer in the right direction, set maneuver nodes, land, in/decrease throttle, dock things, that sort of stuff. but this is just flat out sitting pressing W and sometimes steering a bit. seems really boring to me.

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No offense but I guess that's why some people never climb Everest. They look at it as just a lot uphill walking.

I can tell you, every single thing you described that you do when exploring the Kerbin system, you'll be doing in this challenge. And if you think driving is just pressing the W key and occasionally steering... make a rover and go driving in the mountains behind KSC with warp physics on. And if that's not enough to convince you, drive that same vehicle into the ocean and take it to the Island runway... all while making good time of course. I think then you'll see why this is a challenge.

As I said right at the beginning of this challenge, it SOUNDS easy.

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Just the patience in this is a challenge.

And the guy who circumnavigated Duna was Brotoro.

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Just the patience in this is a challenge.

And the guy who circumnavigated Duna was Brotoro.

Thanks, I recall seeing a post where he said he did it but don't recall seeing anything other than a map, which is why I didn't include him in the list.

- - - Updated - - -

how patient were you? with the speeds land/water vehicles travel(usually between 25-100m/s) it would take days to circumnavigate a body like kerbin. I for one am not going to attempt this one since I lost my patience long ago, back in school...

Oh, and I forgot to answer your question. 13m/s patient. That was my vehicle's top speed on land. And if you read about my adventure, you'll see that I couldn't warp 4 most of the time... I was mostly warp 2 and 3.

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I think I might try circumnavigating Minmus. The vast expanses of flat ground, combined with the low-but-not-too-low gravity should allow me to succeed where the Gilly circumnavigation I attempted back in version 0.24.2 failed, while the small circumference will hopefully mean I don't lose interest before I finish.

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ElCano's

Orbital Bodies Circumnavigated - Circumnavigator

Kerbin

Wooks - Stock (I'm pretty sure) - I believe the first to circumnavigate Kerbin by ground, leaving some 70 Kerbals in his wake. Techinically, Wooks broke rule 3 by using boats. But, since he is the first I know of to prove it could be done, I'll allow him some room. Anyone else, no dice.

Hey, thank you! I considered a 100% land circumnavigation but, let's be honest, Kerbin has a freaking lot of water :P.

A real, honest to God, 100% land circumnavigation would require some crazy pathing and backtracking, it took me almost 6 months to make a simple / straight circumnavigation.

You need to add Boronto's Duna circumnavigation, he did it when the rover parts were released (around 2013). As soon as I can find the links I'd share them. (edit) Here it is: http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/24963-Driving-Duna-%28Circumnavigating-the-Red-Planet-by-rover%29-pic-heavy

Edited by Wooks

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I think I might try circumnavigating Minmus. The vast expanses of flat ground, combined with the low-but-not-too-low gravity should allow me to succeed where the Gilly circumnavigation I attempted back in version 0.24.2 failed, while the small circumference will hopefully mean I don't lose interest before I finish.

Excellent. I can tell you this from my experience driving around Minmus a bunch. Your biggest challenge will be staying on the ground... Start a thread in Mission Reports so we can all watch your demise.

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Hey, thank you! I considered a 100% land circumnavigation but, let's be honest, Kerbin has a freaking lot of water :P.

Well, your trek did the opposite of inspiring me to do mine. I wanted to do one but every time I read your post about it taking 6 MONTHS... I thot better of it. After my 3rd day on Eve, I realized, you just kinda took your time. I was greatly relieved. I warned the wife not to expect to see me for a month or more. She was disappointed when it took less than 2 weeks.

You chose a different path than I took. You forced yourself into replacing crashed vehicles. I chose to go the F9 route. Getting my one replacement to Eve was entirely too time consuming. That and trying to get a raft there that worked... I decided on the amphib approach. I suppose, if someone did it like you did, with a boat... I might still include them. I'll think on that. Getting around Laythe, unless you did it by boat alone, would be difficult to do.

You need to add Brotoro's Duna circumnavigation, he did it when the rover parts were released (around 2013). As soon as I can find the links I'd share them. (edit) Here it is: http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/24963-Driving-Duna-%28Circumnavigating-the-Red-Planet-by-rover%29-pic-heavy

I had never seen this before. Thanks Wooks. I added him to the list but it was an iffy thing. He went un-Kerballed so there was no 'explorer' aspect. But I went ahead and 'grandfathered' him into the list in hopes it'll inspire someone to be the first to do it with a Kerbal. I know there's another guy who completed it recently, but again, he only had one pic of the Duna map and his route.

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I might take a stab at this, but not for a few months. I'd have to find a way to work it into my current AAR save (so I can have other things running in the background [like my karbonite miners], and the best place to justify it would be an endurance test of a rover. Probably on Minmus.

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After my 3rd day on Eve, I realized, you just kinda took your time. I was greatly relieved. I warned the wife not to expect to see me for a month or more. She was disappointed when it took less than 2 weeks.

I certainly did took my time, when I started roving north from the KSC I couldn't even think about how much time it would take to complete the whole deal, so I decided to simply go one step at a time, playing casually monday/friday, and then and assembling a video of the progress on weekends. Only after reaching the North Pole I realized "you know what? this might be possible!".

Where can I check your EVE trek? Any links?

Edited by Wooks

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I certainly did took my time, when I started roving north from the KSC I couldn't even think about how much time it would take to complete the whole deal, so I decided to simply go one step at a time, playing casually monday/friday, and then and assembling a video of the progress on weekends. Only after reaching the North Pole I realized "you know what? this might be possible!".

Where can I check your EVE trek? Any links?

Just click my name in the OP under Eve. It's a link to my Mission Report. I was a bit disappointed in that I had to use a replacement vehicle but... I was so far into it I hated to just stop 3/4 of the way there.

Your name is also linked to the OP of your circumnavigation.

- - - Updated - - -

I might take a stab at this, but not for a few months. I'd have to find a way to work it into my current AAR save (so I can have other things running in the background [like my karbonite miners], and the best place to justify it would be an endurance test of a rover. Probably on Minmus.

I look forward to seeing it. I thought about Minmus and the Mun for my first attempt, but... I like making a big entrance so I chose Eve. I've made an attempt to 'walk' around the Mun but it was plagued by the same problems I had on Eve, misaligned parts. But, I think... think I have a solution and am working on a second attempt...

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I've been to KSC2 in under 4hrs in a boat-car thing, I could manage all the way around, but, I'm going to try a speed boat on Laythe instead I think. Has anyone done circumnavigations all the way out there?

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Hm, I recently built a new rover that I rather like (able to travel over rough terrain at 40-50m/s safely), so I might give this a try. Will definitely require some re-fuels, and I'll have to mod it a bit for the water, but otherwise this looks like a fun challenge! :)

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I've been to KSC2 in under 4hrs in a boat-car thing, I could manage all the way around, but, I'm going to try a speed boat on Laythe instead I think. Has anyone done circumnavigations all the way out there?

None that I know of but, if I could come up with a good boat design, I'd love to try it.

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Hm, I recently built a new rover that I rather like (able to travel over rough terrain at 40-50m/s safely), so I might give this a try. Will definitely require some re-fuels, and I'll have to mod it a bit for the water, but otherwise this looks like a fun challenge! :)

Yea, making mine float was the biggest challenge. It's not easy. I recommend air intakes. And refueling, no problem. I chose Solar and Karbonite for my circumnavigation of Eve. The Karbonite was to run a generator at night.

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Are we allowed to hyper-edit our particular craft to a given planet to attempt this?

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-snip-

Yea, making mine float was the biggest challenge. It's not easy. I recommend air intakes. And refueling, no problem. I chose Solar and Karbonite for my circumnavigation of Eve. The Karbonite was to run a generator at night.

About refuelling, is there any specific way you recommend? I was either gonna send out a small/medium sized plane to re-fuel the car wherever it runs out, or

My other idea was to drop some pre-placed fuel depots along the route before I head out.

Are these both acceptable?

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i think when submitting a challenge, one should consider the purpose of that challenge: Is it fun? Is it educational? Would taking part of it improve my KSP skills somehow?

Frankly, this seems simply like a test of endurance for...nothing. There's no real skill involved other than the ability to not get a sore butt from sitting all day and a sore index finger from holding down W.

I'm sorry for being so forward, i realize you put good thought into it from how you wrote the intro, i just think this challenge is more a chore than an accomplishment.

I'd personally hate ksp after finishing that journey.

Edited by hobbez

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i think when submitting a challenge, one should consider the purpose of that challenge: Is it fun? Is it educational? Would taking part of it improve my KSP skills somehow?

Frankly, this seems simply like a test of endurance for...nothing. There's no real skill involved other than the ability to not get a sore butt from sitting all day and a sore index finger from holding down W.

I'm sorry for being so forward, i realize you put good thought into it from how you wrote the intro, i just think this challenge is more a chore than an accomplishment.

I'm sure you'll get some submitters, i just think most people won't feel like spending all their ksp time doing this. I'd personally hate ksp after finishing that journey.

To each their own! Personally I'm looking forward to this challenge because I recently set up my rovers with new buttons to make it easier (and more fun!) to drive using an auxiliary input (racing wheel in this case).

Plus lately I've been kinda bored with the standard Kerbal "design, launch, redesign, re-launch, etc. etc." method, so this changes it up a bit. It's more about making something that will last the whole way, really.

Edited by Slam_Jones

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I know "Flight" is illegal, but how about you can make your rover a glider, that is, no control surfaces or thrust, but can speed up travel after climbing a mountain or something?

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Are we allowed to hyper-edit our particular craft to a given planet to attempt this?

Well, I can only discourage you from it. If you don't tell me, I won't know. BUT... it's about the journey, not the destination. Half the fun I had was in the design phase of my 'rover' and another big chunk of the fun was getting it to Eve and landed without things breaking.

I'll leave that decision to you.

- - - Updated - - -

About refuelling, is there any specific way you recommend? I was either gonna send out a small/medium sized plane to re-fuel the car wherever it runs out, or

My other idea was to drop some pre-placed fuel depots along the route before I head out.

Are these both acceptable?

Both are acceptable. I used a Karbonite powered 'target' drone for mine. I was able to link to my 'rover' with KAS and use drills on both the rover and the target.

The reason I made an aerial drone... setting it as your SAS target worked great. Read the link in my mission report about my Otto and Cruise. It'll make driving a lot less tedious. I could actually get up and walk away for brief periods.

- - - Updated - - -

i think when submitting a challenge, one should consider the purpose of that challenge: Is it fun? Is it educational? Would taking part of it improve my KSP skills somehow?

Frankly, this seems simply like a test of endurance for...nothing. There's no real skill involved other than the ability to not get a sore butt from sitting all day and a sore index finger from holding down W.

I'm sorry for being so forward, i realize you put good thought into it from how you wrote the intro, i just think this challenge is more a chore than an accomplishment.

I'd personally hate ksp after finishing that journey.

Again, I suggest you read my mission report. It's linked to my name in the OP. You'll find out there it wasn't all about just holding down the 'w' key. If you think this isn't a challenge and you won't learn anything... then by all means... go on to another challenge. But I can say I learned a LOT and am still learning from mine.

And if you STILL don't think you can learn from this challenge... try this and tell me you learned nothing...

I'm making another attempt at WALKING around the Mun...

- - - Updated - - -

I know "Flight" is illegal, but how about you can make your rover a glider, that is, no control surfaces or thrust, but can speed up travel after climbing a mountain or something?

There are gobs of flying challenges. Circumnavigate Kerbin.. My challenge to fly around Eve with Kethane, and the Flying Duna challenge... All of those allow wings. This challenge, is something different. To do it without wings.

Of course, you can do as I, Wooks and Boronto did and challenge yourself to complete a circumnavigation with wings. You might even like it and start your own challenge. This one though, is about staying on the ground... or water.

Edited by Fengist

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I've been tinkering with a Laythe circumnavigator after reading about your Eve mission, and I'll probably give this a go once I get all the little bugs worked out. Design would work fine on Kerbin too, perhaps I should start there?

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I've been tinkering with a Laythe circumnavigator after reading about your Eve mission, and I'll probably give this a go once I get all the little bugs worked out. Design would work fine on Kerbin too, perhaps I should start there?

That's a decision only you can make. Neither has been done before so... here there be dragons. I can tell you this. I've always dreamed of sailing... one day, I will sail around Laythe.

Edited by Fengist

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