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Mun or Minmus?


Andrew Ridgely
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"Pick your poison" is indeed the most apt answer. :P Though I personally tend to recommend the Mun.

Ask yourself the question: "Am I more comfortable with orbital mechanics, or am I more comfortable with building spacecraft and piloting them under engine power?"

If you answered "orbital mechanics", go to Minmus. If you answered "building and piloting spacecraft", go to the Mun. Spoiler: most of what a new player learns up to this point in the game is building and piloting spacecraft... Meanwhile, most experienced players - who have had time to learn orbital mechanics sufficiently - will insist that Minmus is easier :wink:

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The "getting there" is harder with Minmus, but landing is way way easier, due to less gravity and plenty of wide open completely flat places to land.  The hard part about Minmus is matching the orbital inclination to get an intercept.  It's not that hard, and you need to learn it eventually anyhow.  Pick your poison.

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I'd say flyby/orbit Mun first, then flyby/orbit Minmus, then land on Minmus, then land on Mun would make the most sense as far as difficulty is concerned.  Of course, if you have any contracts available for either of them, you might want to change the order to complete them. 

Also worth noting that you don't necessarily HAVE to match Minmus' inclination in order to get an intercept(though it certainly does help).  As long as your ascending/descending node is reasonably close to the spot where you need to perform your injection burn, you can probably get close enough for an encounter even if you're starting in an equatorial orbit.  Might take a bit more playing around with maneuver nodes in order to find just the right spot though.  You'll definitely want to learn how to match inclinations eventually anyway before you try to do interplanetary missions or orbital rendezvous, so might as well get some practice on it now.

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This is how it could go (variations on the theme are possible):

  1. Save your game. Preferably not a quicksave, but one with a proper name so you don't lose it later.
  2. Get lander in LKO.
  3. Save game (because you'll screw it up a bunch of times, now at least you can skip the launch).
  4. Aim for the Mun. Since it's your first attempt, you will most likely screw it up somehow.
  5. Reload old save game.
  6. Learn lessons from the Mun attempt.
  7. Aim for the Mun again, perhaps even attempt a landing. Probably screw it up again.
  8. Reload the same old save game.
  9. Learn more lessons.
  10. Aim for Minmus, now that you know how to aim for another body in the Kerbin system. (Big difference: first match orbital plane)
  11. Quicksave once in Minmus orbit, or perhaps even alt-F5 for a named save game.
  12. Try to land. If you can, aim for one of the Flats (those are biomes, and they are indeed flat). If you don't know how to, just land somewhere - anywhere.
  13. Realize that everything is going really slow due to the low gravity.
  14. Reload quicksave until you...
  15. Nail the landing.
  16. Cheer.
  17. Strut around proudly.
  18. Plant flag.
  19. Take mandatory screenshot of Jeb next to flag with lander in the background.
  20. Post pics on forum.
  21. Save game (again).
  22. (Screw up the take-off and fail to reach Kerbin, reload quicksave, etc.)

 

:)

Edited by Magzimum
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The general consensus seems to be that if you're in career mode, and you haven't upgraded your tracking center yet, do a Munar flyby, and then upgrade your tracking center. A landing isn't too much harder imo but take little steps.

Once your tracking center is upgraded or if you start in science mode, you can edit maneuver nodes and figure out how to change your orbital plane to match Minmus. Once you have that ability it is significantly easier to land and take off from Minmus as the lower gravity means the delta-v requirements are a lot more forgiving.

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Minmus is probably better target in career mode since you can get loads of science with little lander fuel, but I go to Mun first anyway. Its traditional.

Also, I'd recommend to pick the way of real *nauts and go slow - start with flybys and return from low orbit before attempting (nonrobotic) landing. Mun is definitely easier target here.
 

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If playing career, it's always nice to get contracts to do what you were going to do anyway.

So that's enough reason to start with the Mun: flyby, orbit, then unmanned landing, then manned, then docking in orbit and transferring between ships there.

At each stage, contracts will pop up to do what you're going to do, or have just done anyway, and since the Mun is not a long trip you can fully fund your space program and fill out the astronaut roster with rescues within a couple of weeks of game time, long before the first window to Duna comes around. And none of those contracts (AFAIK) will prevent any world-first contracts for Minmus from showing up, while (again AFAIK) the reverse is not true: going to Minmus can trigger harder and more lucrative contracts which will take longer to do (meanwhile hogging one of your contract slots), skipping some of the Mun ones.

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Minmus is a good first landing area for truly beginners. But you'll learn more while practice landing on Mun. Only Laythe, Tylo an Eve will need more learning to land.

Minmus is also a good practice ground for orbital mechanics.

As many said : the answer depends on what your easy with.

  • If orbital mechanics is quite clear for you : aim for Minmus
  • If you're not afraid of landing then aim for Mun

I would add

  • If you're in a career game, Mun has a better science return (more biomes) but Minmus can be stripped for science in only 2 drops from orbit with a reasonable ship.
  • So Minmus is an easy science earning with a lander with an additional orbital tank.
  • Mun will grant you more science points, but your orbital tank will have to be bigger and Mun striping takes longer (13 biomes, hard to do more than 3 biomes each time)
  • If you run for cash, just follow the profitable contracts your get (usually Mun first).
  •  If you're limited by parts and fuel, aim for Minmus, required Delta-V is lower
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The Mun is easier to get too.  The gravity pulls you in, and its easy to hit.
---- Go into a eastern orbit.  Launch and head towards the 90 degree mark.  While in orbit when the moon appears from behind Kerbin burn prograde, and its gravity will suck you in.

Minimus has much less gravity, and is easier to land on.  But the orbits are not the same, and smaller gravity well.  (SOI?)
---  Go into a eastern orbit.  Launch and head towards the 90 degree mark.  Match orbits, but selecting Minimus and set as target.  Warp to ascending/decending node an make it go to 0.0 by burning with the Purple up or purple down indicator. (USE SAS).   Then burn prograde when the planet comes out from behind kerbin.  The planet is small, but in map view, just zoom out and you will see it as a bigger planet (its a graphical overlay). 

Both are super fun.  I love it.  With a decent rocket you can get there with no problem.  Remember you can leave kerbins on the planet and rescue them later when you get better rocket gear.  You will probably go back for science later anyway.

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9 hours ago, 5thHorseman said:

Mun. Deep down, you want to be Neil Armstrong and step out on the Moon's surface and say something profound. You can't do that on Minmus, no matter how hard you try.

"Nope, not cheese, Bob."

 

Yeah, I guess you're right.

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I'll just tell that later in my career, I'd only visit Mun if contracts pushed me to it. Meanwhile, Minmus was my b*tch. Science harvesting lab. Refinery. Fleet of trucks. Rover testing grounds. Speeder garage. Orbital fuel tanker. Orbital hotel. At least five different probes. A lander at the monolith. A ground base.

You NEED to learn orbital maneuvers. Once you learn them, they will be easy and you'll be using them all the time. Then landing on Minmus is a pure pleasure.

Meanwhile, landing on Mun will always be a gamble. I still feel uncomfortable about it, despite having dozens of landings behind me. And while there are a couple moons with Mun's gravity, there's more that are Minmus-like, so the lessons will be more useful.

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The actual landing and general operations is easier on Minmus. It costs hardly any fuel because of the low gravity, and there are giant flats to land on.

However, without an upgraded tracking center, actually matching the orbital inclinations and such is more difficult; the Mun is a giant fat target with zero inclination; it's possible to head to it purely by eye.

 

In a pure career mode I'd probably do the Mun first because you get the contracts for it first and the tracking center issue. In science or sandbox, it could be either, but there's a much bigger sense of achievement to nailing a Mun landing. :)

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Minmus is more useful in the long run - low grav makes it easier to takeoff and return, solar panels will be vexed less by the shorter day, and there's lots of convenient mineral patches.  I'm basing a fuel depot there.

It's also a lot more fun.  The terrain on mun is just rocky enough to be difficult without being that interesting;  Minmus has some crazy stuff.

All of this strictly my opinion.

Edited by Corona688
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