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How do you suppose Kerbals engrave the plaques for flags?

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Like the topic title says, how do they manage to produce long lasting writing on metal in vacuum? Sure, they could be hauling pre-engraved plaques up with them, but given that you can pick what's written on the plaque at the time of flag planting, I like to think they're doing it on site.

One possibility is that they're using a soft metal like gold, and just scratching it with a sharp stylus. Another is that they've got a sort of super-bubble-wrap arrangement with little tiny pockets of acid instead of air, and running a blunt stylus over them releases the acid and etches the metal underneath. Anybody have other ideas?

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Is there any evidence that the plaques are made of metal?  The way Kerbals are popularly depicted, they may very well be using Play-Doh.

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It has to be Mystery Goo. Mystery Goo is very good at etching metal, and Kerbals like making plaques. That is why they are always looking for the stuff. Research is being done to use Mystery Goo to etch circuit boards, and in the future, even chips. But with the present technology, Mystery Goo can only be used to make plaques.

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They have a laser blaster in their left pocket. They use that to shoot the plaque and engrave it like you would do with a laser cutter/engraver

Edited by qzgy
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They use a lawn mower to chisel away the plaque, which is obviously made of dead grass regarding its golden color. How did they get the lawn mower to another planet, and why can't we see it? Well given that Kerbals can collect science data through a giant fuel tank, anything's possible, right?..

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4 minutes ago, qzgy said:

They have a laser blaster in their left pocket. They use that to shoot the plaque and engrave it like you would do with a laser cutter/engraver

I think you would need a pocket protector for something like that.

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13 minutes ago, Ty Tan Tu said:

I think you would need a pocket protector for something like that.

Yeah, although I'm not sure how well a piece of plastic would work against stopping a laser.

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3 hours ago, razark said:

Is there any evidence that the plaques are made of metal?  The way Kerbals are popularly depicted, they may very well be using Play-Doh.

And now I want to know if anybody has ever exposed Play-Doh to a vacuum. A cursory google search tells me that if they have, they haven't posted it on the internet. My gut feeling is that plaques made of Play-Doh would be crumbly and gray after a fifty year time warp, though. :P

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The flag fabric is composed of a patch of Kraken skin, which is found in abundance randomly all over the system, left behind when the Kraken shed to make place for its new yearly coat.

Obviously it is completely space resistant, and it is widely known to be touch-sensitive, so all the Kerbal need to do is trace the message over the surface with the tip of their gloves with a specific vibration frequency for the chromatophores to get stimulated and turn deep dark, even causing some of the muscle cells to contract causing the 'embossing' effect.

Left to its own devices it will then retain the pattern almost indefinitely, which is why Kraken skin quickly became the Kerbin equivalent of parchment since the very first kerbals decide to document a game of tic-tac-toe.

It's also the staple wrapping for Snacks(tm), and explains the relative popularity of the odd cuss word 'Krakensnacks!' amongst kerbals.

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Obviously the plaques are made from a tungsten-gold alloy that has a ridiculously high melting point. Why? So the kerbals can have an excuse to carry a megawatt laser for engraving them.

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9 minutes ago, eloquentJane said:

Obviously the plaques are made from a tungsten-gold alloy that has a ridiculously high melting point. Why? So the kerbals can have an excuse to carry a megawatt laser for engraving them.

The alloys are for when a rival space agency tries to get rid of your flag by blasting it with a giant SRB at full power...

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28 minutes ago, Jack Joseph Kerman said:

The alloys are for when a rival space agency tries to get rid of your flag by blasting it with a giant SRB at full power...

I thought it was for when your own space agency plants the flag way too close to a 40 meter tall Eve ascent vehicle.

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With a million dollar sharpie that actually works in a vacuum its so super cool million dollars wow.

or like a blowtorch

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14 minutes ago, NSEP said:

With a million dollar sharpie that actually works in a vacuum its so super cool million dollars wow.

or like a blowtorch

Why not a 2000 kelvin blowtorch-tipped sharpie?

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1 minute ago, eloquentJane said:

Why not a 2000 kelvin blowtorch-tipped sharpie?

Hmmmmm. Good idea :D

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19 hours ago, eloquentJane said:

Why not a 2000 kelvin blowtorch-tipped sharpie?

It vaporizes the ink before it can dry....

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On 8/25/2017 at 7:45 PM, Jack Joseph Kerman said:

Well given that Kerbals can collect science data through a giant fuel tank, anything's possible, right?..

Nah, they just transmit it through a cable in the Systems Tunnel, which is aerospace contractor speak for "Big Pipe Down the Side".

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They burn it in with a 'hard stare' from their unblinking eyes.

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On 8/26/2017 at 4:23 AM, eloquentJane said:

Why not a 2000 kelvin blowtorch-tipped sharpie?

Or a closed system containing a high temperature laser stylus 3-D printer... you punch what you want on a keypad, then press enter. The system lays down layers of some metal, like Unobtainium, that the laser stylus removes the excess before the next layer of Unobtanium is laid down. To describe the process to the Kerman viewer:

The thing smokes, causes the lights to dim and set off warnings about the air being depleted, followed by the familiar sound of a microwave beep... Open the door and voila, a plaque suitable for display...

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