Xavven

How do Kerbals survive the perils of extended space travel?

Recommended Posts

Lately I've been thinking about how humans have so many problems to overcome with manned space travel. Even six months of living in microgravity wreaks havoc on a person's heart, muscles, bones, immune system, vision, and more. Radiation exposure from a trip to Mars and back would greatly increase your risk of an early death, not to mention the danger of a coronal mass ejection from the Sun at just the wrong time. What about the psychological effects of being cramped in a tiny space vessel with 3 to 5 other people for years?

In KSP I can send Kerbals to Jool for an extended 5 year stay without consequence. Yeah, it's just a game, but in my head I need some justification for their seeming ease with space travel. What are your rationalizations for it?

One plausible explanation could be that Kerbals have much better natural biological systems in place to clean up damaged DNA when exposed to radiation. Perhaps they simply don't get cancer owing to this superior trait. Or perhaps they've advanced further than we have in the realm of genetic engineering (remember the recent news about twins born in China with genes edited by CRISPR? It's possible!) and therefore cures and/or immunity for all cancers.

Perhaps they don't suffer muscle atrophy, bone loss, or any other ailments because their bodies don't respond to microgravity at all, or they just genetically engineer themselves to counter the effects of microgravity.

Could they hibernate on long journeys, sleeping for months or years at a time so that they aren't bothered by long trips to Eeloo?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clearly, the kerbals we see are actually elaborate life support and space exploration machines for a much tinier creature. Each is crewed by hundreds of individuals, like a hive.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kerbals are more like a humanoid fungus/mold/mushroom than a traditional animal/mammal.

They just don't need any of the things we do.

Edited by Rocket In My Pocket
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kerbals breed very quickly and, like some spiders, the young eat their parent and then each other until just one remains. 

On a long voyage a Kerbal called, say, Gerald sets off and a Kerbal called Gerald returns but it's a quite different Kerbal. 

Incidentally...Kerbals taste like panda. 

Edited by Foxster
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Extended space travel? Getting to and crashing on the Mun only takes a couple of days! 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have another theory. Kerbals are actually two-dimensional organisms (all folded into a special seven-dimensional configuration, of which we see only a three-dimensional projection) with incredible surface area which acts as a solar panel, hence their only need is light. I call this the flat kerbal theory.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Rocket In My Pocket said:

Kerbals are more like a humanoid fungus/mold/mushroom than a traditional animal/mammal.

They just don't need any of the things we do.

...or things that fungus/mold/mushroom's need either really.

I vote for trans-dimensional ghost cucumber.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/13/2019 at 8:54 PM, Xavven said:

What are your rationalizations for it?

I find it irrational, so I run mods that fix it :).

 

On 1/13/2019 at 8:54 PM, Xavven said:

Could they hibernate on long journeys

Wait for it... There's a mod for that too.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Foxster said:

Kerbals breed very quickly and, like some spiders, the young eat their parent and then each other until just one remains. 

On a long voyage a Kerbal called, say, Gerald sets off and a Kerbal called Gerald returns but it's a quite different Kerbal. 

Incidentally...Kerbals taste like panda. 

Wow. Just wow.

Never thought about it like that, but it makes a lot of sense now :D

 

In my own KSP universe, the Kerbals live off of electricity (dont need food or water), can hibernate at will (when I warp the time forward), actually feel more at home in micro-gravity than on the surface of a planet (hence the countless and otherwise pointless stations orbiting everywhere) and get sick by the color purple (you guess it :P ).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎1‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 2:54 AM, Xavven said:

How do kerbals survive the perils of extended space travel?

What does it matter? :sticktongue:

Seriously though, you serious users take many seriously unimportant aspects of this game far too seriously.

Say that 10x fast. I dare you.

Edited by The Dunatian
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding "realism", I recently wondered why probe cores are so heavy. Incidently, I think the answer I got there, applies here as well ... perhaps.

One explanation that stuff in ksp is heavier than on Earth was that as Kerbin has the same gravity asl, but is much smaller in volume it must be denser. Denser alloys (containing e.g. lead) shield better against radiation. Because kerbkind has only access to heavy(er) metals than we do, they build heavy crafts but are much better shielded against radiation and such space-nonsense.

Regarding snacks: Some stock parts' internal view shows a generous supply of food, so they're fine.

Edited by bitzoid
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I need justification for that too, but since I can't really justify it, I dodge the question by adopting a self-imposed challenge of making my crew accommodations much greater than is technically necessary for game mechanics.

So like, short trips to the Mun or Minmus, I leave them with small seats.  They're only going to be like that for a few weeks, they can train for that kind of journey, like real astronauts, it's fine.  But for interplanetary travel, I find that entirely insufficient to keep my mind from wandering strange places.  So I over-engineer for that purpose.  I'll put in Mk. 2 passenger modules that can accommodate four Kerbals and use them as a sleeping cabin for two crew.  I'll then attach those to a Hitchhiker module and use it as a shared space.  Probably add a Mobile Science Lab just to give them something to do and more space to stretch out.  Add unnecessary copula modules so they don't feel so trapped in a big aluminium cylinder.

Yes, the extra volume and mass of these accommodations makes interplanetary missions harder to perform, but I justify it as the extra mass being essential to making that journey (got to bring enough snacks and board games to make it there, along with enough lead foil to insulate the cabins against radiation.)  And that extra effort in turn lets me justify how Kerbals can make the journey.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, steve_v said:

I find it irrational, so I run mods that fix it :).

 

Wait for it... There's a mod for that too.

Cool! What mods do you use in particular?

1 hour ago, Fearless Son said:

I need justification for that too, but since I can't really justify it, I dodge the question by adopting a self-imposed challenge of making my crew accommodations much greater than is technically necessary for game mechanics.

So like, short trips to the Mun or Minmus, I leave them with small seats.  They're only going to be like that for a few weeks, they can train for that kind of journey, like real astronauts, it's fine.  But for interplanetary travel, I find that entirely insufficient to keep my mind from wandering strange places.  So I over-engineer for that purpose.  I'll put in Mk. 2 passenger modules that can accommodate four Kerbals and use them as a sleeping cabin for two crew.  I'll then attach those to a Hitchhiker module and use it as a shared space.  Probably add a Mobile Science Lab just to give them something to do and more space to stretch out.  Add unnecessary copula modules so they don't feel so trapped in a big aluminium cylinder.

Yes, the extra volume and mass of these accommodations makes interplanetary missions harder to perform, but I justify it as the extra mass being essential to making that journey (got to bring enough snacks and board games to make it there, along with enough lead foil to insulate the cabins against radiation.)  And that extra effort in turn lets me justify how Kerbals can make the journey.

Great idea and I've been doing that too. Yet for as much livable volume as we have in the ISS, spend a year up there and you get really bent out of shape, even sticking to several hours of exercise every day.

I've thought about building rotating wheel stations (for artificial gravity), but getting them into space in the first place would be a challenge. There's also the bolas concept, two habitats connected by a tether and rotating about one another, but we don't have ropes in stock KSP. I wonder if there's a mod for that too.

 

Edit: Aha! I think I got it... It's a compromise between a wheel and a bola. Two habitats connected by a long structural tube, with a docking port in the middle of the tube. Since the configuration is in a line, you can launch it vertically (easier to launch than a whole wheel). Then you dock it perpendicular to your main rocket in LKO. To get artificial gravity, you roll your rocket, which spins the two habitats like a propeller.

 

(hab)=======(hab)

                ^

                ||

                ||

                ||

           (rocket)

Edited by Xavven

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Xavven said:

Cool! What mods do you use in particular?

In the past, MKS/ USI Life support, which abstracts confinement / mcrogravity it into a "habitation" rating and life support into "supplies", while also introducing an interesting late-game colonisation mechanic.
If you want a hardcore experience, there's Kerbalism, which includes  a bunch of other stuff like radiation belts - though performance issues have so far kept me from a full playthrough with this one.

Right now, I'm using TAC Life support & Kerbal Health for a bit of variety, it's working out rather fun so far and this combination covers life support, microgravity& radiation exposure, while also integrating nicely with other mods I'm running such as Nerteas centrifuges and atomic engines.

For hibernation there's DeepFreeze, but it feels a bit cheaty to me when running alongside a life support mod.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Fearless Son said:

got to bring enough snacks and board games

How do you roll dice in space ? =)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Chumpes said:

How do you roll dice in space ? =)

Maybe magnetic dice?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Chumpes said:

How do you roll dice in space ? =)

With special equipment, like say a cup and a small vacuum board.

18 hours ago, Xavven said:

I've thought about building rotating wheel stations (for artificial gravity), but getting them into space in the first place would be a challenge. There's also the bolas concept, two habitats connected by a tether and rotating about one another, but we don't have ropes in stock KSP. I wonder if there's a mod for that too.

I've had similar ideas, like putting little passenger cabins or hitchhiker containers on the end of several structural tubes.  Allow them to rotate freely inside in a custom built hinge with some extendable docking ports that mate with the main hull to allow them to be fixed in place.  Maybe put some wheels internally to accelerate them up to speed, that way they don't need their own internal electricity supply.  Yes, time warp will cancel their rotation, but at least we can pretend.

Or, you could just go simple and make the beams fixed and set the entire ship rotating.  I mean, if it's not a continuous thrust design (and unless you are using ion engines and willing to wait years of play time, then it's not) then you don't need an elaborate rotational mechanism when the whole ship can just spin indefinitely, needing only power for initial spin up after finishing the transfer burn and power for spin down before the breaking burn.  Should keep the crew healthy enough during the journey.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They don't suffer from atrophy and radiation and do photosynthesis (hence the green color)

Edited by Gapone
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/13/2019 at 5:47 PM, Foxster said:

...

Incidentally...Kerbals taste like panda. 

But, to avoid confusion and 'snacking urges', actual pandas have absolutely no nutritional value for kerbals whatsoever. In fact I've heard we can be quite poisonous to kerbals if consumed...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, pandaman said:

But, to avoid confusion and 'snacking urges', actual pandas have absolutely no nutritional value for kerbals whatsoever. In fact I've heard we can be quite poisonous to kerbals if consumed...

Only if consumed in large quantities. A bit like dogs and chocolate. 

One or two pandas have been shown to do little harm to the average Kerbal. Though, as you say, they get nothing from the consumption. 

I once saw a bull Kerbal rip apart and gorge on three full-grown pandas. It was fairly ghastly. The Kerbal was licking gobbets of viscera off itself for a couple hours but, apart from awful wind, it really didn't seem to do it much harm.  

Funnily enough they won't eat cooked panda. Just the other day I barbequed a couple and good eating was had by all, except Jeb who wouldn't touch it. He would rather have a couple of raw snow leopards any day.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That explains the lack of diverse wildlife on Kerbin then :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, carla said:

Great movie!

Very good indeed. Just don't expect Hollywood style explosions and action. It's the kind SciFi that we need more of. KSP fans should enjoy this.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now