Jump to content

KSP Weekly: The Lunar Greenhouse


Recommended Posts

tumblr_inline_p7husu1gKc1rr2wit_540.png

Welcome to KSP Weekly everyone. The Moon has always astounded humankind, ever since our ancestors first gazed out at the heavens. The movement of the stars, the Moon and the Sun ruled each of the various stages of life, and their very survival. Ancient cultures observed that the various phases the Moon passed through in a month coincided with events transpiring in their environment. To this end, they learned to plant, fish, harvest, hunt, and make predictions, all by the light of the our satellite.

The first human-made object to reach the surface of the Moon was the Soviet Union’s Luna 2 mission, on September 13, 1959, and the first manned mission to land on the Moon was the United States’ Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969. Since then, there have been six manned U.S. landings (between 1969 and 1972) and numerous unmanned landings. To date, the United States is the only country to have successfully conducted manned missions to the Moon, with the last departing the lunar surface in December 1972.

Since then, the focus of most space agencies shifted and it seemed that we had forgotten about our natural satellite. China, however, seems to be taking the lead to reignite our interest to explore the Moon and even establish a permanent space station on its surface. On October 24,  2007, China launched Chang'e 1, an unmanned Chinese lunar-orbiting spacecraft, part of the first phase of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program. The spacecraft, named after the Chinese Moon goddess, Chang'e, was able to create the most accurate and highest resolution 3D map ever created of the lunar surface. In 2010, Chang’e 2 also went into lunar orbit before setting off for a trek across the solar system that culminated in a flyby of asteroid Toutatis in 2012. In 2013, Chang’e 3, deploying the Jade Rabbit rover, made headlines for the first soft landing on the Moon since 1976.

This year, China is planning to launch a pair of missions known collectively as Chang’e 4, whose first component is scheduled to lift off in June. It will be a relay satellite stationed some 60,000km behind the Moon and will provide a communications link between Earth and the lunar far side. Once this link is established, it will allow China to send the second part of the mission: a lander to the far side’s surface. Nobody has landed on the far side of the Moon, mainly because of the communications difficulty. Yet the scientific payoff is huge. Being in the shadow of the Moon allows stray radio signals from Earth to be blocked so the view of the radio universe is unparalleled. In addition to that, Chang’e 4 will conduct the very first attempt to grow flowers on the Moon’s surface, all part of China’s “mini-biosphere project”, led by Chongqing University. The team hopes the mission will provide useful intel that could one day help us set up a colony on the Moon.

In December, potato and Arabidopsis (a member of the mustard family) seeds will be placed in an aluminum alloy tin measuring just 18 centimeters by 16 centimeters before hitching a lift on the lunar lander and rover. The tin will also carry silkworm cocoons, water, air, soil, and electrical equipment to record the experiment. Once it reaches its destination, a tube inside the tin will divert natural light from the surface of the Moon and onto the seedlings, triggering photosynthesis. The plants will emit oxygen, feeding the silkworms who in turn exhale carbon dioxide and leave waste, feeding the plants. The experiment will have to face challenges such as the Moon’s gravity, which is just 16 percent of what we experience on Earth, as well as the climate, particularly the extreme temperatures. On the Moon, temperatures can climb to more than 100°C and plummet below -100°C, so the team will be controlling the mini biosphere to keep temperatures between 1 and 30°C. The experiment will be captured on film and transmitted back to Earth where we’ll be able to see it on a live stream.

While we Humans are still experimenting to learn how to deal with crops in sa¿pace and other celestial bodies, some Kerbals have already been building permanent space stations equipped with Modular Kolonization Systems that allow them to grow their own snacks on the Mun or elsewhere.

[Development news start here]

This week we’ve been working hard on the 1.4.3 patch. During the last phases of the testing process an unexpected issue cropped up with the desert and mobile launchpads. This issue turned out to be more difficult to solve than we expected, so we made the decision of holding back the patch’s release until next week. The good news is that we are already working on a fix and we are confident that the patch will provide a higher quality experience for all players. Click here to learn a bit about the content of patch 1.4.3.

In the meantime, we can show you some pictures of how the new Dessert Airfield/Launchpad site looks:

tumblr_inline_p7hutgtXJq1rr2wit_540.png
tumblr_inline_p7hutpelT31rr2wit_540.png
tumblr_inline_p7hutsXXpx1rr2wit_540.png

We did new models and textures for some pieces, as well as reusing some old models from our repository, which you probably recognize. We thought that a desert site would have an austere look, but still be well equipped to sustain itself.

Here are also the Floating Launchpads in action.

tumblr_inline_p7huuqwzH91rr2wit_540.png
tumblr_inline_p7huum2zmt1rr2wit_540.png
tumblr_inline_p7huufwkDw1rr2wit_540.png
tumblr_inline_p7huu7bGLe1rr2wit_540.png

Click here for high-res images. 

These models were also modified to fit the watery conditions they have to face. For instance, the platform needed something to float on and a ladder to climb on the pad was needed for any nearby Kerbal swimmers. Do you like how it looks?

As mentioned before both of these features are going to be expansion exclusive, and the Dessert Airfield will be usable in all game modes.

Base game players will also enjoy a sizable amount of fixes in the patch, including the fix of some UI offset issues that Linux users were experiencing. The team also fixed the persistence of data when switching to unloaded vessels via the map view and an issue that involved the IVA overlay camera showing artifacts on high specular parts. There are of course more fixes and improvements included for the release which you will learn about once we publish the Changelog next week.

Don’t forget that you can also you can share and download missions on Curse, KerbalX, and the KSP Forum.

That’s it for this week. Be sure to join us on our official forums, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Stay tuned for more exciting and upcoming news and development updates!

Happy launchings!

 

*Information Source:

Link to post
Share on other sites

There should be an option to upgrade the island airbase I think...   and we need an elevator installed in the associated control tower. 

I love parking "special" planes in the hangars over there and would like to invest a few bucks to clean the place up a bit, maybe pave the runway and a loading dock would be amazing!

Edited by XLjedi
Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, XLjedi said:

There should be an option to upgrade the island airbase I think...   and we need an elevator installed in the associated control tower. 

I love parking "special" planes in the hangars over there and would like to invest a few bucks to clean the place up a bit, maybe pave the runway and a loading dock would be amazing!

Unfortunately, that's unlikely. Until the expansion came out, the island airfield was nothing more than a well-known easter egg. Squad probably won't be adding that capability, although I think it would be rather nice.

As for the patch, I'm happy they actually held back a release to fix a critical bug; makes us think that perhaps the comments about QA have not fallen on deaf ears.

All in all, I'm glad to have a dev update to clarify some things.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Mrcarrot said:

Unfortunately, that's unlikely. Until the expansion came out, the island airfield was nothing more than a well-known easter egg. Squad probably won't be adding that capability, although I think it would be rather nice.

It's been upgraded in the past to allow 100% recovery there... and in the latest patch, it's now a valid launch site. 

It could happen.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had thought the issue holding up 1.4.3 was a serious bug with the core game.  It is a disappointingly bad mistake to delay fixing the fairings and especially the landing legs.  These are priority issues deserving of a fix weeks ago and the correct decision would have been to remove unready new content from the patch and fix the immediate game breaking bugs.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, SQUAD said:

tumblr_inline_p7hutsXXpx1rr2wit_540.png

Oh, @SQUAD.  So close, and yet so far.

Really?  You did that with the runway?!?  The whole point of a dessert field is that it's supposed to be flat, and you make the runway a giant speedbump?

 

I've been waiting for a Muroc Field, perfect for flight testing operations.  You almost got it.

 

Edited by razark
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, razark said:

The whole point of a dessert field is that it's supposed to be flat, and you make the runway a giant speedbump?

Honestly, landing anything other than vertically anywhere that is not a runway should result in a total loss of the craft.

Link to post
Share on other sites

May I ask... or dare I ask? Will we eventually get the old KSC2 - the one that was buried in 1.1, to play with, too? I've always wanted to use this... (and please, do not tell me to go download Kerbal Konstructs...)

Otherwise, thanks to @SQUAD, and most importantly, to its team of beta testers who do their best to break the game and find out what's wrong with it!

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, tater said:

Honestly, landing anything other than vertically anywhere that is not a runway should result in a total loss of the craft.

I'd agree, except for a large dry lakebed type of area in the desert, since there's a long history of them being used.  The coastal KSC plains should not support any sort of heavy aircraft.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That desert launch site looks like a big improvement over Woomerang with just a pad in the middle of nowhere.  I'll be glad to wait for the patch till it's right & doesn't create more problems than it fixes.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, tater said:

Honestly, landing anything other than vertically anywhere that is not a runway should result in a total loss of the craft.

Not true. Exactly. In World War I, anywhere flat was used as a forward airfield by the French and British. The Germans, too, especially in Luxembourg and Belgium.

campement.jpg  06.jpg

german-airfield-with-two-hannover-biplanes-ww1-drhpdw.jpg

2 minutes ago, razark said:

I'd agree, except for a large dry lakebed type of area in the desert, since there's a long history of them being used.  The coastal KSC plains should not support any sort of heavy aircraft.

I would agree, if Kerbin was Earth. But here's where I have the to throw this out. What if the coastal plains is a thin layer of dirt (maye 4 cm) and the rest, hard rock, like granite? There's simply not enough information given in the game to support any conclusions about the ability to support weight.
But there are other problems I have with the geography and topography of Kerbin... but those are probably better on another thread than here, where the focus was about the new patch and the weekly update.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, adsii1970 said:

Not true. Exactly. In World War I, a ...

WW2 as well. None the less, fields were usually prepared, and I'm fine with low speed/mass things like biplanes and even ww2 bombers. Not delicate spaceplanes (already OP).

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, tater said:

WW2 as well. None the less, fields were usually prepared, and I'm fine with low speed/mass things like biplanes and even ww2 bombers. Not delicate spaceplanes (already OP).

But let's be clear here, in WWI, "prepared" meant marking it with little flags or lanterns at the end of a grass strip, and tearing down any buildings in the way. Little work went into it. Normally farmland was used for this very purpose because the land had already been cleared of all other barriers or obstacles.

WWII saw some other improvements, particularly brought in by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the Navy Sea Bees. By 1945, they could literally put an airfield in just about anywhere. And use variations of concrete or other prepared surfaces. With the exception of England. Most of the Army's 8th Air Corps (about 2/3) were still on fields (no real prepared runways but much like the ones in WWI) the RAF appropriated from local farmers for use in the war effort.

But you're right, if we are using Earth's geography (in places), as an example. Along the coast would not support the weight of a space plane. But in Kerbin, where water physics have the consistency of beef gravy and the air is more like unset Jello, can we really say that geography of the coastal plain would be the same as earth?

But think of this - the coastal plain of KSC would be "tsunami bait..." Yes, it is a little over 60m above sea level, but IF we look at some real Earth examples, the coastal plain shouldn't be a nice little square appendage to the rest of the continent.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Phreakish said:

A patch to make the game playable should have been a priority over the additional content. Now playability is delayed to fix new bugs on content that will 100% have issues upon release. The waiting continues... 

They stated that they were postponing it to remove issues. And of course there's an issue with everything if you look hard enough. 

I agree that they shouldn't be bundled together. I think a patch for the broken 1.4.2 should have been released ASAP, then 1.4.4 or so would have really polished content later on.

Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, adsii1970 said:

But let's be clear here, in WWI, "prepared" meant marking it with little flags or lanterns at the end of a grass strip, and tearing down any buildings in the way. Little work went into it. Normally farmland was used for this very purpose because the land had already been cleared of all other barriers or obstacles.

Farmland in the UK is already "prepared," I'm thinking the SW Pacific, CBI, etc. New Mexico looks perfectly fine from the air, just land---you'd be mistaken, even with a ww1 biplane. The dirt/dust is soft, and there are deep ruts, prairie dog holes, etc,  randomly, everywhere.

The bottom line is that on Earth, the % of the untouched by humans surface that is acceptable to land even a rough-field aircraft is vanishingly small (land where no damage is possible).

The % increases with human work on the land, but even then, most farmland is unavailable as well. Plowed field? Nope. Field with mature crops? Nope. Grazing land might be OK most places.

What about Mars? My point is that the cue-ball nature of KSP planets obviates the need for proper landers.

Link to post
Share on other sites
This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...