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Is Laythe a real satellite?


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From what I can tell, the consensus is that Laythe should, by all accounts, not be feasible.  Yet it exists, and continues to exist.  It somehow has an oxygenated atmosphere that hasn't escaped or reacted away, has enough energy flux at the surface to stay relatively warm, and has exactly the right conditions for liquid water on its surface.  This leads to the only explanation I can think of:

Laythe is artificial.

The nearly global ocean is simply a cover, a layer of insulation for a megastructure that lies beneath the surface.  It is heated from within by some arcane power source, and houses...well, something awesome i suppose.  I mean, you don't hide anything that isn't awesome in a planetoid.  Perhaps Laythe is the original home of the Kerbals, who have been transplanted to Kerbin for reasons unknown?  The possibilites are endless!

 

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2 minutes ago, natsirt721 said:

Laythe is artificial.

And not just artificial-- some have theorized that it's actually just a simulated moon in a computer game!  Crazy talk, I know.  :)

3 minutes ago, natsirt721 said:

It is heated from within by some arcane power source

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6 hours ago, natsirt721 said:

No, not like tidal heating.  I remember seeing in a post sometime that the mass ratio between Jool and Laythe is insufficient to supply the necessary energy flux to maintain the surface conditions there. 

You over-estimate the level of thought that went into these planets. 

 

Slow mo of Val's ejection:

 

Val and Bop are not in stable orbits in a real N-body simulation (which is what you'd need to get tidal heating at all). So how do they maintain their orbits?

Explanation #1: They are artificial worlds, alien space ships with advanced drive systems that we don't understand - they use these alien propulsion systems to maintain their orbit.

Explanation #2: Its an oversight by the game developers

 

Another issue: The escape velocity for most of the planets is too low to hold on to an atmosphere

Explanation #1: They are artificial worlds with advanced "force field" technology that prevents the atmosphere from escaping

Explanation #2: A deliberate oversight by the developers because they made a gameplay decision to have smaller worlds where dV requirements are lower, and surface details look better.

 

If we assume a roughly 1:10 scale of the system, so that kerbin is earth sized, then Laythe is way too big, and tylo is way too big (probably val too?) Jupiter's largest moon is only 2.5% Earth's mass. Tylo is 80% of Earth's mass. They clearly simply wanted to add more planet sized destinations, without making the solar system look too messy/far off from our own, so they made them moons of a gas giant.

This game uses a lot of "analogues" duna for mars, kerbin for earth, moho for mercury, etc. However, many of them are quite different (Duna's atmosphere is much thicker than mars, it has a big moon, not 2 tiny ones, etc). 

A clear analogue is Jool for Jupiter. Jupiter's innermost moon is Io, Jool's innermost moon is Laythe. Io has the most extreme tidal heating of all the Jovian moons, to the point that there are lakes of Lava on its surface (it requires quite a bit more heat to have molten rock at the surface vs melted subsurface Ice as on Europa).

So, going with Io as an analogue, its not hard to see what the fiction is behind Laythe's heat source and reason for water to be in liquid form at the surface. 0its sort of a cross between Io and Europa, but made much bigger so that it can hold on to an atmosphere (assuming a 1:10 scaling).

Sure, you can do the math and that fiction doesn't hold up - but if you do the math, almost everything in the KSP system doesn't hold up.

Also note that its not just "the mass ratio between Jool and Laythe" that is important here. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Io_(moon)#Tidal_heating

"Its Laplace resonance with Europa and Ganymede maintains Io's eccentricity and prevents tidal dissipation within Io from circularizing its orbit."

So we also have to consider the effect of Tylo... which as noted above is proportionately much much bigger than its analogue Ganymede. Also, remember to apply the 1:10 scaling factor to sizes, otherwise nothing in KSP comes even close to making sense.

 

Basically, I'm saying (as others) its a game. The dev's haven't computed every little detail. Many of these worlds are purposefully fanciful, and if the math doesn't work out on them, it doesn't mean that the devs really intended them to secretly be artificial alien constructs.

Edited by KerikBalm
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6 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

Val and Bop are not in stable orbits in a real N-body simulation (which is what you'd need to get tidal heating at all). So how do they maintain their orbits?

Explanation #1: They are artificial worlds, alien space ships with advanced drive systems that we don't understand - they use these alien propulsion systems to maintain their orbit.

Explanation #2: Its an oversight by the game developers

 

Another issue: The escape velocity for most of the planets is too low to hold on to an atmosphere

Explanation #1: They are artificial worlds with advanced "force field" technology that prevents the atmosphere from escaping

Explanation #2: A deliberate oversight by the developers because they made a gameplay decision to have smaller worlds where dV requirements are lower, and surface details look better.

Are you implying that the Kerbal system is some kind of weird simulation??? :o

 

Can't be true, man! I got my alu hat, the antennas and know for sure that aliens control everything.

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7 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

Explanation #1: They are artificial worlds, alien space ships with advanced drive systems that we don't understand - they use these alien propulsion systems to maintain their orbit.

Explanation #2: Its an oversight by the game developers

Or, indeed,

Explanation #3:  The game developers don't care, because it was designed & balanced for gameplay reasons to provide a fun, interesting environment to explore that's challenging without being boring or over-difficult.

...which I suspect is the real reason.

(And, frankly, just speaking for myself, I think that's the right priority and they made the right call.)  :wink:

 

7 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

Basically, I'm saying (as others) its a game. The dev's haven't computed every little detail. Many of these worlds are purposefully fanciful, and if the math doesn't work out on them, it doesn't mean that the devs really intended them to secretly be artificial alien constructs.

^ This.  "Because it's a game and is supposed to be fun" explains an awful lot of things in KSP.

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Ultimate Explanation: KSP is not a simulator.  It never has been and never will be.  The devs have never claimed it to be and Harvester himself explicitly stated it was a game, not a simulator.

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37 minutes ago, Alshain said:

Ultimate Explanation: KSP is not a simulator.  It never has been and never will be.  The devs have never claimed it to be and Harvester himself explicitly stated it was a game, not a simulator.

Well, it is a simulator of sorts, but as with any simulator, there is the question of how detailed of a simulation it is. There's also the question of if it is a pure simulator, or its a game first and simulator 2nd. There are very few "pure" simulations that make no concessions for gameplay. 

39 minutes ago, Snark said:

Or, indeed,

Explanation #3:  The game developers don't care, because it was designed & balanced for gameplay reasons to provide a fun, interesting environment to explore that's challenging without being boring or over-difficult.

...which I suspect is the real reason.

Well, I think to some level... they did care. As the youtube video I linked shows... just about everything is in a stable-ish orbit except for 2 moons of Jool. One of those takes a long time to be ejected. Is the overall stability of the Kerbol system an accident? I think not.

The resonance of Eeloo with Jool is certainly no accident

The one that rapidly ejects, Val, is in an orbital resonance with laythe and Tylo, with the ratios the same and Ganymede, Europa, and Io (1:2:4) - which is a stable relationship.

They probably stuck them in a 1:2:4 resonance and figured that was stable because the real life analogue was stable. 

I suspect with some tweaking of the relative masses or distance from Jool, they could get there if they really wanted to with minimal impact to gameplay. I suspect it was an oversight - because if you can have realism without a negative impact on gameplay in a game like this, there is no reason not to have it.

 

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14 hours ago, Snark said:

And not just artificial-- some have theorized that it's actually just a simulated moon in a computer game!  Crazy talk, I know.  :)

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You can also argue that the immense amount of electricity created from Jool could be creating enough Ozone to keep the atmosphere there - Ozone can be created through lightning and so it isn't out of the picture as a theory as well. And you could blame the liquid ocean on the water being heavily saturated with other chemicals, like Chlorine or other chemicals :)

Edited by Avera9eJoe
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1 hour ago, KerikBalm said:

Well, it is a simulator of sorts, but as with any simulator, there is the question of how detailed of a simulation it is. There's also the question of if it is a pure simulator, or its a game first and simulator 2nd. There are very few "pure" simulations that make no concessions for gameplay.

It's a game with very realistic aspects.  It's not a simulator at all.

Games have realistic aspects in order to make them believable to the general public.  It's no different than Call of Duty have realistic combat, that doesn't make CoD a simulator.  Though believable to most of the public, a true expert can easily dissect a games realistic aspects.  Ideally, a well designed simulator would either not be able find fault with the simulation OR it could be defined as a technical limitation/impossible to simulate within reasonable cost.  KSP fits into that first category of a game only.  You spend most of your time outside the rocket and it takes mods to make cockpit flight even somewhat usable... it's just not a simulator, period.

FWIW, most of the games that have "Simulator" in their name these days are not simulators.  A quick search on Steam for the word "Simulator" produces MS Flight Sim, Euro/American Truck Sim, and a bunch of games that are not simulators.  I'm currently playing one called Farming Simulator 2017.... it's not a simulator (but it is kinda fun if you like that sorta thing).

 

Edited by Alshain
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@natsirt721, I can think of 2001 reasons why Laythe is a reference. As for being artificial, it certainly seems that it could exist.

Io is volcanicly active because of it's close range to Jupiter. It would not be unreasonable to assume that Laythe only has liquid water because of it's excessive volcanic activity caused by Jool's gravitational field, cause we know that Kerbol's warmth isn't doing much out there.

Edited by TopHeavy11
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so then the unrealistic part is simply its size relative to its parent planet. From what we've seen, moons don't seem to form that big relative to their parent planet.

Earth's moon is an exception likely created by a giant impactor -> but I suspect that would go very differently for a gas giant. I'm still not sure what to make of the kuiper belt objects that seem to have some fairly large moons, but to me the biggest problem with the jool system is the moon size.

What could be fun though.... is to turn laythe into something more like Io (or replace it with a world more like Io, and add an "Ice giant" to the system -> then we put laythe in a retrograde orbit around the Ice giant.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triton_(moon)#Capture

Quote

Triton's eccentric post-capture orbit would have also resulted in tidal heating of its interior, which could have kept Triton fluid for a billion years; this inference is supported by evidence of differentiation in Triton's interior. This source of internal heat disappeared following tidal locking and circularization of the orbit.

all we need to do is suppose that Laythe was captured less than a billion years ago in this scenario.

 

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I've heard a crazy conspiracy theory that the Laythe landings were faked because Laythe doesn't actually exist. I don't understand all the details, but apparently the Mexicans are involved.

Best,
-Slashy

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