Jump to content

The Dunatian (The Martian - Kerbal style)


Recommended Posts

Preamble: Go read Andy Weirs great book "The Martian". Really. It's that good. Then come back and see what I did with it. The general setup is the same, but I've changed the plot slightly to better fit with the lighthearted spirits of Kerbalkind. There will still be major book spoilers without further warning.



I'm pretty much stoked.

Thats my considered opinion.


Six days into what would have been two boring months of yet another manned mission on the surface of Duna, my ruse went off, and it turned out great.

I don't even know who'll read this. I guess someone will find it eventually.

For the record... I didn't die on Sol 6. Certainly the rest of the crew thought I did, and I can't blame them. It's exactly what I wanted them to think. After faking an "Immediate Kraken Evacuation Alert" and sabotaging the communication system to make sure mission control could not interfere, I slammed myself into the receiver dish to disable the life monitoring systems of my EVA suit. That hurt a little bit.


Seeing me half-buried under a ton of defunct communications gear, the crew just had to abandon me. Protocol and stuff. A real kraken attack is nothing to scoff at. I saw them board the Duna Ascent Vehicle (DAV) and watched the liftoff, leaving just the landing gear and the fuel plant of the vessel behind.


Let's see - where do I begin?

The Ares program. Kerbalkind reaching out to Duna to send crews to another planet for the first time and stuff, blah blah blah. The Ares I crew did their thing and came back heroes. They got the parades and fame and love of all Kerbin. Ares II did the same thing, in a different location on Duna. They got a firm handshake and a hot cup of coffee when they got home.

Ares III. Well, that was my mission. Okay, not mine per se. Commander Valentina was in charge. I was the lowest ranked member of the crew. I would only be "in command" of the mission if I were the only remaining Kerbal.

What do you know? I'm in command.

By now, the ascent vehicle has certainly already docked with Hermes, the massive ion-drive mothership that brought us here. With no way to return to the surface, the Hermes is probably already on its way back to Kerbin, even if they now know that the alarm was faked.

So that's the situation. I'm stranded on Duna. I have no way to commicate with Hermes of Kerbin. Everyone thinks I'm a terrible person for blowing up a very expensive mission. I'm in a hab designed to last two months. If the atmospheric regulator breaks down, I'll suffocate. If the hab breaches, I'll kind of explode. If none of these things happen, I'll eventually run out of snacks. That's not going to kill me, but I will be very annoyed if that happens.

On the plus side, I have tons of engineering and scientific equipment to fool around with, two rovers outside, and noone to tell me what to do. Im the king of Duna!

So yeah, I'm pretty stoked.


Edited by SirJodelstein
minor typos
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Today I took stock of supplies and equipment. I have some construction projects coming up, and I need to know whats there. Outside of the hab, things are looking good. The solar cell array is providing plenty of power. Actually, with the rest of the crew gone, it is providing much more than required, so I can scavenge some of them for my projects.


The bottom half of the Duna Ascent Vehicle is still standing. It took minor damage from the launch, but the structure looks solid. The drills and the resource converter are inoperational since Sol 2, when our pilot Doodbald removed the RTG and buried it some kilometers away. The RTG has reliably powered the resource mining for 18 months, but with Kerbals around mission control decided that it would be better to bury it as soon as the crew arrives.


The rovers are in good shape. They are designed for short trips of up to six hours. After that, they need to be recharged at the hab. Unfortunately, driving them is not as easy as on Kerbin. Lower gravity means less friction, so the cruise is a little bit like ice-skating.


The Duna Descent Vehicle (DDV) fell over during a minor storm on Sol 4. There is still quite some fuel left from the landing, which might be useful later on. With my mighty screwdriver, I unscrewed the tanks and the little engines and brought them into the lab. I also took off the landing girders.


Time for some construction! I took apart one of the presupply crates that was stowed in the big container just outside the hab, and built the best slide of the entire planet. Yes, it is probably also the only one on the entire planet. It's fun. And only slightly painful to use. And guess what? I, Philfred Kerman am the king of Duna and if I say that something is awesome there is noone here to contradict me.


And now excuse me while I eat a well-earned donut. Tomorrow I'll start thinking about how to start snack production. Philfred out.



[skip to next Log Entry]

Edited by SirJodelstein
restore log entry title
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good stuff! Did you consider making the Hab out of a large fairing?

Tanks!. Actually yes, i did have two test versions of the hab made with fairings. The one for the complete hab had the problem that i couldn't use the service bays as airlocks. The "roof only" version looked ok, but i really wanted windows in the roof, so i rejected that draft as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


The Great King of Duna needs snacks. Our mission had sufficient supplies to last 50 days. The crew left on Sol 6, so that leaves me with 264 days worth of snack-induced happyness. Rationing is completely out of question. I need my full potential for this adventure.

My secondary skillset will definitely be useful. Everyone on the mission had two specialities. I'm a mechanical engineer and botanist; basically, the missions fix-it man who played with plants. While snacks are technically not plants, they consist of a lot of organic material. Research groups on Kerbin have been experimenting with directly growing snack-bearing plants for quite a while. A substantial portion of my time on this mission was assigned to experiments with the most successful specimen of these snack-splants. Guess I'll just have to scale the process up - from a science experiment with two or three individual plants to a full-blown cultivation and farming operation that produces a steady stream of delicious snacks.

My best bet is to go with the rapidly-growing donut plant. It is currently sitting in a small patch of soil from Kerbin in a corner of the habitat. A heat lamp is mounted directly above it. The growth process is catalyzed by spraying tiny amounts of rocket fuel exhausts over the plant.


Well, I better get to work. I'll start with bringing in huge amounts of dirt inside to make a bigger patch. Adding water and mixing it with the soil from Kerbin should make a useful breeding ground for more plants. I can worry about problems like "how the hell do i not set the hab on fire when I use real rocket engines inside the hab" later. For now, its shoveling time.

Edited by SirJodelstein
restore title
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Ugh! This is backbreaking work. I spent about twelve hours each past day to bring dirt into the Hab. I only managed to cover only managed to cover a small corner of the base, maybe five square meters. I'll need more than that eventually, but since I have nothing to plant, I am taking a break from dirt-moving for now. Double ration for me today!


I have thought about this whole "rocket engines in the Hab" thing. It is risky, but there is no way around it. I need bigger rocket engines to cover the surface area of the patches. The Dude has some I can use. Who is the Dude? Thats my new name for the thing formerly known as the DDV (Duna Descent Vehicle). Much better name for such a useful vessel. Tomorrow I will put on the engineering hat again and wield my mighty screwdriver. Wohooo!


The Dude is not happy. I kind of made a mess out of him. But it had to be done.


I took the rocket engines back to the Hab. There is quite some fuel left in the tanks, because our pilot Doodbald really nailed the landing. Unfortunately, I still have nowhere near the amount of fuel I need for my snack-planting endevour. Enter the DAV (or at least whats left of it). The heavy lower stage of the Duna Ascent Vehicle was left behind during the evacuation. It has two drills and a resource converter. The process takes a lot of time, but it will produce a steady stream of fuel for my plants.

The DAV is inactive right now (the RTG was removed and buried after landing), but I think I should be able to hook it up to the Habs power systems. The solar panels are generating way more electricity than I currently need, so why not put that surplus power to use?


As soon as I plugged in the cable, the lights of the DAV flickered back on. Since all the fuel tanks from the DAV are now back in orbit, I rolled the fuel tank from the Dude to the DAV and connected it with a hose. It is quite late now, so I'll wait till tomorrow before flipping the switch on the drill and converter.


Oh man, KIS and KAS is so much fun

Link to next log entry

Edited by SirJodelstein
restore title
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...


It has been a busy week (although the concept of a "week" does not really work here on Duna). Did a whole lot of precision engineering (mostly hammer and wrench) and botanics (moving dirt and talking to plants). And maths to back it all up. On a foreign planet. Exactly all the nerdy fun stuff I've been dreaming of since long before I joined the Space Academy.

Where do I start? The fuel plant. The drills are running and filling up the ore canisters, and the converter is chewing though it smoothly. Due to the dependency on solar energy and batteries, I can only leave them running during daylight. It takes about two Sols to fill up the FLT-200. After that, I roll the canister over to the hab, where I can empty it into a slightly larger container.


Inside, the snacks are growing better than i expected. The plants from the testbed setup have grown and sprouted, and i took some of the seeds to replant them in the large plot. I have finished the large plot and added illumination and the engines from the Dude. Let's hope they grow as good as the originals.


My maths skills have told me that I only using 87% of the converted rocket fuel per Sol with this setup. If the current snack growth rate holds, there will be enough snacks to feed me indefinetely. Well, that is until the soil deterioates from intense overuse. So, maybe not indefinetly but at least for some years. I do not intend to stay here forever, so thats allright.

Anyway, I have leftover fuel to use for other experiments. About 65kg of rocket fuel per Sol, and no way to store huge amounts of it. I don't really know what to do with it at the moment. Completely unrelated to this fact, I made some slight modifications on one of the rovers.



Edited by SirJodelstein
restore title
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you actually launch all of the components?

No, I hyperedited them there. Especially the hab with the solar farm would be terrible to launch and fly, and quite a chore to set up with KIS/KAS alone. Also, I have have sent a KIS container to replace some components that that dropped through the surface during KIS operations. Other than that, I'm going with what I have. So its kind of an "enhanced playthrough" with some concessions for storytelling and screenshot purposes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...