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HyruleOrphan

Whats the use for probes/rovers?

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I've always ben wondering what the point of probes/rovers are. (other than getting a good look at the planet/moon) Are they good in sience/carrer mode? Are they worth the effort and money to put on planets/moons? I do have SOME guesses, but anything other than these, i simply cant find a use...

1. Transferring Stranded kerbals to bases: say if you have TAC Life support and a kerbal is stranded on Duna, Laythe, etc. so you need to send the kerbal to a base to stay there till help arrives.

2. Refueling Ships: By using a rover with a drill-o-matic and a convertotron, they could dock to a lander with no fuel, and fuel it up again. (with the advanced grabbing unit, as i highly doubt that you build your landers with docking ports specifically for rovers )

Other than these 3 uses (which i'll most likely never take advantage of) i can't find a use  for them.

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Well, a "probe" is a robotic ship that flies around in space, and I don't think that's what you really mean.

As far as rovers goes:

Yes, people do put docking ports on their ships specifically for refueling rovers to attach to.

The refueling rovers don't need converters generally. They usually just have a big fuel tank on them. You have a mining ship that does all the mining and conversion. You attach the refueling rover to it and suck out a full tank of fuel. Drive over to a parked ship that needs fuel and shovel it in. If you have a surface-based miner, there is often no other realistic way of getting the refined fuel out of the miner and into a fuel transport tanker than to use a rover to shuttle between them.

For medium-sized moons, a nice big stable rover is preferable to a hopper. Hoppers tend to be limited to maybe 5 hops maximum by the exponential cost of lifting all their fuel multiple times. A nice rover can visit every biome and anomaly on a moon, with no fuel cost.

Racing around at high speed on low gravity worlds can be fun and silly.

A spaceplane on the ground is a rover. And spaceplanes are very useful.

On the other hand, small rovers can be extremely frustrating. They slide all around. On low friction moons, they can be very hard to steer.  They can tend to flip over a lot. If you slide into a terrain crease you can break your rover completely. Sometimes they are unable to climb out of craters and end up stuck there forever.

 

 

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2 hours ago, bewing said:

Sometimes they are unable to climb out of craters and end up stuck there forever.

And similar things happen IRL....

 

A lot of people play with LIfe support mods too, and using probes to explore planets is a good way to grind some science out before they have unlock all the parts neccesary to do interplanetary missions.

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I use them very early on. I tend to land a small rover when I first visit a planet or moon.  Than I use rover to look for nice landing spot for bigger craft or even a base. Later on I use them to expand my bases as new tech becomes available.

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The main reason to use probes is if you're playing hard difficulty (and/or with hardcore life support mods) and don't want to lose kerbals.

ISRU rover can be great, I like to park one on the flats of Minmus to fuel up larger vessels (anything can be landed on Minmus, and it's a lot less work to fuel thing up in place than to move fuel around).

Rovers can also be handy in the MKS/USI mod suite.

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Make a giant mobile ISRU base with klaw and send it to minmus. It's easier and safer to steer your base to a landed ship rather than attempting precision landing on the refueling station

Also, they are useful as science platform when you don't want to lose kerbals. Land one in a celestial body and start gather and transmit science to unlock stuff. If you find yourself in need of just a little more science to unlock the next node, just send your rover to nearest biome to add some extra science. By the time you landed a kerbal there, have them extract the gathered experiment from the rover, which should give you a lot more science to unlock even more tech tree nodes

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Nobody has mentioned that probes and rovers are a great way to get science early in career or science mode when you're still limited in terms of researched parts/facility capacity/funds. This is simply because a probe is much lighter than a capsule and thus you can get further with a smaller or more basic rocket. If you also add wheels to it (make it a rover), you can then drive around and get science from different biomes.

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