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The Kerbal Chronicles Finalists and Poll

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A Word Of The Wise by @Deddly

A hot and humid wind gusted across the balcony. By modern standards, this was a beautiful evening. It had been raining constantly for weeks – the rains interspersed with the regular electrical storms. Right now though, it was a pleasant change to be in the open. An old man sat motionless, an expression of longing creeping into his dreamy eyes. Few people today would waste their time gazing into the night sky. What was there to see? But the few who knew him would have understood the emotions rushing through him as memories from the past drifted through his weary mind. Young Joeely was new here, and was wearing a bemused smile as he watched the old man. Following his gaze, Joeely could see nothing more than the glare of street lamps reflected back from the choking smog that hung relentlessly over the city like a possessive child jealously guarding its toys. It was the same every night. Everyone knew it would come to this eventually. Since the Tipping Point had passed some years ago, few people cared to think about the future anymore. But there was something different about that look in the old man's eyes; his gaze seemed to probe deeply beyond what was really there.

Joeely could no longer constrain himself. “What do you see up there, Jebediah?” he asked. The old man slowly turned his weather-beaten face into the light. “They don’t teach you about it anymore” he replied, “but long before your time, we used to fly out there and explore. I’ve been to places you have probably never even dreamed about. Places we have now forgotten.”

There was a long pause as the words sank in, and Jebediah returned his gaze to the sky.

“What do I see up there? I see our future.”

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Rocket Program Saved by Invention of Life-Saving Technology by @The_Rocketeer

Science took a great leap forward today with the announcement from Kerbal Space Centre of a breakthrough in atmospheric braking technology, encapsulated in a mysterious new device dubbed a “Pop-out Automated Reactionary Anti-Crash/Hold-Up-The-End System”.

The device is intended to augment or even replace conventional braking rockets usually fitted to spacecraft for descents from orbit to Kerbin, or even other worlds. Accidents involving the misfiring of braking rockets during launch have blighted the space program since its inception, reported last year following the Kerbal-II disaster.

Such catastrophes could now be a thing of the past. “PARACHUTES use a unique symbol in our rocketry software,” said Gene Kerman, Mission Controller at KSC. “That differentiates them from engines, making their identification much easier for our sequencing team”. When asked why braking rockets couldn’t also use their own unique symbol he declined to comment.

Wehner von Kerman, Famous Rocket Scientist, explained how PARACHUTES work. “You just arm the system, and when the air-pressure and altitude are just right, the mechanism fires. It is just a question of creating a much larger drag cube than the vessel would ordinarily have, and so increasing the aerodynamic force on the craft. For this we use some fabric and old rope."

Low life-expectancy and the risk of sudden and fiery death have seen dwindling recruitment and spiralling snacks budgets, threatening the future of the space program. However, KSC now seems set for a resurgence of aspiring astronauts*.

Tests have been conducted using sub-orbital rockets, with a 99.7% success rate.  Experts at KSC said tests are planned for non-atmospheric worlds, beginning with the upcoming Kerbal-III mission to Mun. We will cover ongoing developments in the project.

*If a life in the void interests you, see our Jobs section for more information.

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Making Kerbals a Multiplanetary Species by @Long Finger

by Elon Kerman

What I’m trying to achieve here is to make Duna seem possible, and something that we can do in our lifetimes, and that you can go if you wanted to. First of all why go anywhere? There are really only two paths. One path is we stay on Kerbin forever, until there is some kind of extinction event, and the other is that we become a multi-planet species… Which I hope you would agree; that is the right way to go.

So how do we figure out how to take you to Duna? Just to give you some comparison between the two planets:

fkz3EUO.jpg

They’re remarkably close in a lot of ways. Early Duna was a lot like Kerbin. There’s been a lot of great work in exploring Duna and in understanding what Duna is like. So how do we get Kerbals there? If we look at a Venn diagram there is no intersection of sets between Kerbals who want to go, and Kerbals who can afford to go.

d05VrLc.jpg

 

What we need to do is move those two circles closer together. If we can get the cost of moving to Duna to be roughly equivalent to a median snack price here on Kerbin, then I think the probability of establishing a self-sustaining civilisation is very high. Not everyone would want to go; a relatively small number of Kerbals would want to go, but enough would want to go and that could afford the trip that it would happen. To make Duna trips possible on a large enough scale to create a self-sustaining city, full reusability is essential. I think that as we show this is possible. That this dream is real. I think support will snow-ball over time. So, er…. Any questions that I can answer?

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Taking the Cake  by @KSK

Business contracts in the Space Age

I had never seen it’s like before. An ultra-modern Mun lander being painstakingly filled with bagged sand, gardening tools, polystyrene blocks and ten litre cans of turquoise paint. But, as Gus Kerman said to me, if you’re building a film set on the Mun you need the right tools.

“It started,” he explained, “when Gene accepted a contract from the Cinematographic Artists of Kerbin, or CAKE as they like to be known.”

Apparently this was part of the latest CAKE blockbuster, Marooned on Minmus.

“The CAKE guys tried building a set on Kerbin,” Gus said, “but it looked terrible. Even when the actors were directed to ‘walk real bouncy’, it just looked so fake. Nothing like a real low-gravity EVA. So they came to the space community for help.”

“But,” I ventured, “Wouldn’t it make more sense to just take a film crew to Minmus?”

“That’s what Kerbodyne thought,” said Gus. “That’s Kerbodyne for you – great rocket engineers, lousy businesskerbs. You see,” he continued, “the average kerb-in-the-street doesn’t believe we went to Minmus anyway. We could film Marooned on Eeloo and they wouldn’t notice the difference. Also – have you been to Minmus?”

I shook my head.

“It’s boring,” said Gus, “Kilometres of flats, broken by gentle slopes. Great for landings, real dull for filming. With a little artistry,” he gestured at the paint cans, “the Mun will make a much better location. Finally,” he tapped his head conspiratorially, “we had a secret weapon.”

I raised my eyebrows.

“We promised CAKE cameos from Jeb, Bill, Bob and Val. It’s a little crazy,” Gus acknowledged, “but that’s modern business for you. Show the investors a slick sales pitch and a bit of celebrity, and they’ll fall over themselves to throw money at you.”

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The War of the Kerbs by @Just Jim

 

Three nights ago, on the one-year anniversary of astronomers from the Mount Kerbomar Observatory spotting several large explosions on the surface of Duna, a large meteorite was seen impacting near the northern farming village of Kerb Mills.

Two brave villagers immediately set forth to investigate, only to find something quite different than they expected.

(Testimony of Pierson Kerman)

“We headed north towards a strange light, and found what looked like a big, glowing dinner plate buried in the snow. But then some holes opened up in it's belly, and these sorts of leg things came out, and it stood itself up like a big three-legged step stool."

"Well, let me tell you, we didn’t know what to think. But ol’ Bob here, he walks right up to it and says “hi!”

"For a couple seconds nothing happened, then this three-legged thing… it shoots something straight at Bob! My heart durn near stopped, until I saw Bob run up and grab a scoop… and started eating it. Wouldn’t ya know… it was hot-melted cheese! This thing was shooting at Bob with some sort of hot-melted cheese ray!"

"But the cheese was so hot, it caused the nearby ice to melt, and the three-legged thing, it slipped and fell back into the snow."

"Then the strangest thing happened. When it tried to get back up, it coughed. Then it sniffled, and let out a monstrous sneeze, and fell right back into the hillside. The last thing it did was pull its legs back inside of it, sneeze one last time.... and then it just died."

 

Note: The testimony you have just read has not been altered in any way….

The implications of this account are for you, the reader, to decide.

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A Kerbal’s Tale by @root

One cold night, I carried with me a telescope to the middle of a field and pointed it to the stars. While aiming at what I believed to be some particularly bright stars, I discovered the planets. I could see the ice caps of Duna, the striped cloud tops of Jool and the remarkable rings of Sarnus. No longer were these planets relegated to the pages of a book. They had become real places in the night sky, worlds to which we might one day travel.

In the early days of the space program, mistakes and oversights were commonplace. Parachutes would deploy just as solid rocket booster ignited, command pods would decouple prematurely, leaving some stranded in orbit until a rescue craft could be deployed. I myself was victim to an incorrectly staged decoupler. Fortunately I had plenty of snacks and a copy of, “Astrodynamics and Whatnot” by Bob Kerman. Once Command appointed Bill Kerman as lead engineer, most problems were quickly straightened out. Shortly after my rescue, Jebediah Kerman became the first Kerbal to set foot upon Mün, while Valentina Kerman orbited above. Although Jeb somehow set the lander down on it’s side, he was later able to right the craft and successfully make the rendezvous with Val for their return journey home. The next world in our sights was Duna.

Imagine my surprise when I was selected to be part of the crew on the first manned Duna mission. Our ship, the Kermies, has performed exemplary over the last 300 days of this voyage. Presently we’re strapped into the landing craft, in a few moments we’ll begin descent to the planet below, and then several minutes after that, I will become one of the first to set foot on this new world.

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