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# Mobile Processing Lab Mathematics & Questions

## Question

If I have a lab with 468.65 data, and one level-1 scientist, how long will it take to fully deplete the lab?

At the end of that period, how much science is generated? The current science generation rate is 1.5817 science/day (but I think this rate is non-linear, right?).

Does the time and amount change if I (these seem to matter for generated ore):

• Play at 1x
• Physics Warp
• Time Warp
• Play other spacecraft and come back after a long time.

How do multiple labs on the same craft work?

Does location ever matter?

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2 hours ago, Wcmille said:

If I have a lab with 468.65 data, and one level-1 scientist, how long will it take to fully deplete the lab?

At the end of that period, how much science is generated? The current science generation rate is 1.5817 science/day (but I think this rate is non-linear, right?).

Does the time and amount change if I (these seem to matter for generated ore):

• Play at 1x
• Physics Warp
• Time Warp
• Play other spacecraft and come back after a long time.

How do multiple labs on the same craft work?

Does location ever matter?

You'll get a faster return with higher-level scientists, and faster if you have 2 scientists instead of one.

Each data point consumed generates exactly five science points.

As for "how long to fully deplete," I believe the answer is "forever."  The rate at which data is consumed is proportional to the amount of data present-- it's not linear consumption, it's exponential decay.  For example, you're currently getting 1.5817 science/day, which means it's consuming 0.3163 data per day (since one data point always makes exactly five science points).  Your current data amount is 468.65, so that's 0.0675% data consumption each day.  In other words, it will use up half of its data every 10.5 1026 days.  (thanks for the correction, @Wcmille)

If you run with physics warp or time warp on, or you come back after a long time, it's still the same set of numbers.  Science labs work at the same rate in game time, regardless of whether you're currently controlling them, and regardless of what speed (and type) of warp is happening.  So you can switch away to other ships, timewarp, etc. and the science lab will still be there doing its thing, and you get credit for the time it's put in.  So a typical usage scenario is to leave 'em running and go elsewhere, and every once in a while come back to transmit the science and top off the data.  Kind of like having a composting bin.

I believe that multiple labs on the same craft don't particularly make any difference.  Each one works independently of the others.  Note that only the crew actually inside a lab affects its production rate, i.e. scientists elsewhere on the craft don't contribute, so there's no interaction there.  However, I believe if you have two labs you can process the same experiment separately in each lab and get double the science that way.  (I hasten to add that this paragraph is just what I think, I don't actually know this and haven't tested it.)

Location doesn't matter about how much science a lab generates, or how fast, while it's converting data into science points.  It does matter at the moment when you initially research an experiment:  i.e. it affects the amount of data generated for a given science result.  If you collect a science experiment on the surface of Minmus, you'll get more science data if you process it in a lab that's sitting on Minmus, than if you process it in one that's orbiting Minmus.  However, that only affects it at the moment that you process it.  Once it's processed, it's just in the "data" bucket, and data is data.

More stuff about how science labs work, for the curious.

Edited by Snark

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3 hours ago, Wcmille said:

At the end of that period, how much science is generated?

Short answer:  "too long" and "not enough".  The MPL's rate of farming science is WAY, WAY less than the rate that you can pick up science just lying there on the ground.

Long answer:  The MPL cannot process but 1 Minmus experimental result at a time.  Any lander you send to Minmus will collect at least 13 experimenatl results:  2x of each crew reports, EVA reports, Goo, Materials, temperature, and pressure, and 1 surface sample.  You will transmit the crew and EVA reports but that still leaves 9 experimental results, only 1 of which will fit in the MPL at a time.  If you've never been out of Kerbin's SOI so far, your scientists will have at most 2 stars at this point.  With such a crew, it will take the MPL about a year of gametime to generate about 200 science points from the single experiment you can put in it.  So what do you do with the other 8 experimental results in the meantime?  Sit on them and feed them into the MPL 1 at a time over the next 8 years?  Or do you just take them home immediately?  If you take them home, you'll get 500-600 science in about 14 days. So that's way more return in way less time.   And if your lander has about 3500m/s in the tank when it 1st lands on Minmus, an OKTO probe core for SAS, and a scientist aboard, it can hop to all 9 biomes and return to Kerbin with 4000-5000 science points in a total round-trip time of about 30 days.

This totally blows everything the MPL can do out of the water.  And with the tech you get from this load of science, you can then do much the same on Mun and be finished with the tech tree long before the MPL gives you any return.  And even if you haven't quite finished the tree by then, you'll be so far along that what the MPL gives you won't be worth more than 1/2 a node, porbably less.

So the bottom line is, for practical purposes, since 1.0 the MPL has become utterly and completely useless.  Its only value at present is cosmetic for roleplaying purposes.  Prior to 1.0, the MPL had a vital and essential function, being the only way to reset Goo and Materials experiments.  But when Squad, in an effort to prop up the failed and unworkable Kerbal class and experience system, tried to make scientists useful by letting them reset Goo and Materials, they robbed the MPL of any and all utility, and the new science farming feature is way too underpowered to make up the difference.

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6 minutes ago, FancyMouse said:

Both, actually - bring home one copy and leave one copy there to process later. Lab never competes with the experiment-based science system.

Um, no.  You can STORE all the actual experiment results in the lab at once, but there's only enough data capacity to process (that is "copy") 1 of them at a time.  The "data" capacity of the lab is totally different from the actual experiment results you pull out of the instruments.  The terminology used in the whole process is very confusing because "data" means 2 different things here.  I will try to clarify this.

It works like this:   You run a Goo.  You "collect data" on the Goo, which is removing the actual experimental results.  This "data" you collect here is NOT the same thing as "data" for the MPL.  It is the actual physical experimental result.  It's what you either return to Kerbin or transmit.  It can be stored in any crew pod or carried by a Kerbal.

So now your Kerbal has the experimental result in his pocket.  He then climbs into the lab, which takes the experimental result out of his pocket and stores it in the lab.  Now you right-click the lab and say "process data".  This actually makes a pseudo-copy of the experimental results, the copy being called "data" in the lab and occupying some or all of the lab's "data" capacity.  But the original experimental result still exists as a separate entity.  The Kerbal can now exit the lab, right-click on it, and take the experimental result out of the lab and put it back in his pocket.  But the pseudo-copy of it, the "data" in the lab, is still there.  So the Kerbal can now get in another ship, which will store the experimental result in it, return to Kerbin, can cash in the experiment for science points.  Meanwhile, the lab will still be slowly converting the pseudo-copy "data" version of it into extra science.  It is therefore possible to make multiple pseudo-copies of the same experimental result in multiple labs (each has to be on a separate ship), and have them all crunching their copies simultaneously, while STILL returning or transmitting the original experimental result.  But this is even more of a waste of time and money than using a single lab because they're all so slow compared to just taking the results home to start with.

So my point is, a single experimental result from Minmus will occupy so much of a lab's "data" capacity that it's the only thing the lab can do.  That's what I meant by saying a single experiment will fill the lab.  There's only room for 1 pseudo-copy at a time, so any other experiments you carry to it will just sit there uselessly until the lab eventually makes room for them in its "data" space.

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Thanks for the help. Very useful information!

I get 1026 days for half-life. I'm using the equation LN(2)/0.000675. This would yield something like 1170 points of science, right?

When you process an experiment in a craft with two labs, which lab gets it? Both labs?

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1 hour ago, Wcmille said:

I get 1026 days for half-life. I'm using the equation LN(2)/0.000675. This would yield something like 1170 points of science, right?

You're absolutely correct about the half-life, I totally goofed the math, can't believe I did that.  The science yielded is 5 times the data consumed.  So half of the 468 data points would yield about 1170 science, that's right.

1 hour ago, Wcmille said:

When you process an experiment in a craft with two labs, which lab gets it? Both labs?

That I have no idea, have never tried it.  I practically never use science labs myself, and have never done two-on-a-ship.

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Logically, the data points can only be added to a lab if there's a scientist in it. Therefore, to allocate data to two different labs, you just need to transfer the scientist from one to the other.

How the data is allocated if both labs on a vessel are staffed is another matter, and I really don't know how that happens. The only time I've ever had two labs together, I only had one scientist on board.

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29 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

So what do you do with the other 8 experimental results in the meantime?  Sit on them and feed them into the MPL 1 at a time over the next 8 years?  Or do you just take them home immediately?

Both, actually - bring home one copy and leave one copy there to process later. Lab never competes with the experiment-based science system.

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On 1/6/2016 at 11:42 PM, Snark said:

That I have no idea, have never tried it.  I practically never use science labs myself, and have never done two-on-a-ship.

May I ask how you gather your science points? I'm playing 1.05 science mode and am keen to collect as much as possible.

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21 minutes ago, JackBush said:

May I ask how you gather your science points? I'm playing 1.05 science mode and am keen to collect as much as possible.

My usual method:

1. The first few suborbital hops, gathering goo + crew reports.
2. Unlock Science Jr., get more of same.
3. As soon as practical, unlock EVA 'coz that's a lot of science there.
4. Tootle around KSC a bit picking up science from the various buildings.
5. Basic Mun shot.  This is a major flood of science.
6. Build a serious Mun mission, go strip-mine it for science.  Ditto Minmus.

Steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 are easily completed in an hour or two with a new career.  #5 is also pretty quick, I can design & fly a low-tech Mun mission in my sleep these days.    #6 takes a bit more time, but not all that much.

That's basically it.  If you unlock all the science instruments (or even just most of them, up to the seismometer), you can get incredible amounts of science just from Mun and Minmus.  If I'm completist about the biomes, I can completely max out the entire tech tree just from Mun and Minmus.  And even just doing about half of Mun/Minmus is enough to get me all the science I need to enable missions to other planets, i.e. leaving out the tech nodes that I don't actually need and will fill in later when I have science to spare.

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On 1/6/2016 at 7:52 PM, Snark said:

Kind of like having a composting bin.

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