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Kerbal helmets must be inflatable. Here's why.


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We all know and love the Kerbal shape, with oversized head and bulbous helmet offering clipping challenges, or worse preventing access, to poorly placed EVA equipment like ladders.

But it occurred to me today that the Kerbal helmet must, despite it's solid appearance, be inflatable.

My reasoning is below: please tell me if you disagree. This also raises some interesting conclusions.

* Reason 1: Helmets are removed and disappear. We all know helmets can be removed in Kerbin and Laythe atmospheres, and we see it disappear, but we don't question where it goes, nor how it can be pulled back out instantly. The inflation theory covers these by proposing that the helmet, once deflated, resembles little more than a sock and can be rolled up and put away.

* Reason 2: junior airlocks are clearly too narrow to fit a rigid Kerbal helmet. We also know that they cannot remove their helmet in a vacuum. Yet a Kerbal can enter them. The only reasonable solution is that the helmet must be able to flex somehow as they enter the airlock and pressurise.

* Reason 3: crash tolerance and bouncing. Dropping a Kerbal on their head is often survivable with an impressive bounce possible if dropped directly on their head. With an inflatable helmet this phenomenon is easily explained, where the pressure inside creates a protective balloon around the Kerbal's head.

* Reason 4: floating. A Kerbal flies upwards from underwater at some speed. The buoyancy of the inflatable helmet provides an explanation of this.

 

So the logic points towards helmets being inflatable, and not solid, but this raises some fascinating questions:

1 Is there an upper limit to Kerbal pressure tolerance? For the helmet to inflate and yet look solid, even on Eve, suggests that the helmet material is very tough and that extremely high air pressure exists inside. This raises interesting questions about the Kerbal physiologal ability to breathe at high pressure and also to withstand forces (which we were already aware was high from previous ground impact studies).

2 Does helmet clipping (e.g. around an EVA chair) matter? If the helmet is indeed able to compress, but the game is simply unequipped to visualise this, then should it be considered poor form? Provided the head itself is not clipped then the suggestion is that the helmet will "mould" to the available shape.

3 Thus the ability to place ladders on Eve landers that frustratingly prevent Kerbal ascent to the command module due to a minute overlap on helmet shape after a long and arduous journey with no quicksaves on route and not enough money in the bank to launch another mission should be considered a bug, and reported as such. ;)

 

But what do you think? Does the inflatable helmet theory clear up a number of unanswered questions for you, or do you have a better suggestion. Please discuss below.

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2 hours ago, Ratwerke_Actual said:

Not sure, But when I stood up under a lander, The helmet made contact and launched it a few meters. Landed on its side and was nearly stranded.

It launched like it had just had a space hopper put underneath it, you mean? I rest my case :)

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It's always possible that kerbals have us all fooled. We think they are physical manifestations, but they may just be a form of electromagnetic energy/projection without solid form. For all we know they live in an entirely simulated reality. :o

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This is 100% true. kerbal Spaghetti-fying Syndrome (KSS) is caused when their helmet deflates. The massive pressure inside throws the kerbal around like an untied balloon so fast that their bodies are stretched from the g forces and atmospheric friction.

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4 hours ago, Curveball Anders said:

You don't want to know where they store helmets and parachutes (or BG gadgets) and Squad are not allowed to explain.

Remember that there are kids playing the game ;)

Indeed. Oh and don't ask about the three seashells either.

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On 9/18/2019 at 6:41 PM, dnbattley said:

1 Is there an upper limit to Kerbal pressure tolerance? For the helmet to inflate and yet look solid, even on Eve, suggests that the helmet material is very tough and that extremely high air pressure exists inside. This raises interesting questions about the Kerbal physiologal ability to breathe at high pressure and also to withstand forces (which we were already aware was high from previous ground impact studies).

Not only on Eve, but the immense pressures of Jool as well.  If you're up to sending a Kerbal on a one way trip, you can EVA a Kerbal all the way down to the pressure limits of Jool, which IIRC goes up to 15atm at that altitude.

Edit: An idea just came to mind, what if the helmet is constructed with an interlocking frame on the inside?  That way it could be deflated/collapsed when not in use, and be able to hold up against both vacuum, and the positive pressures of places like Jool and Eve.  It doesn't explain the visor portion though.  It doesn't appear to have any structure to it, yet retains an outwards curve to it, regardless of outside pressure.

Edited by Piper
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3 minutes ago, Arugela said:

holograms?

Interesting idea, but if they are holograms then they must have developed hard light technology (akin to Rimmer from Red Dwarf) since they do have an effect on Kerbal survivability in low pressure environments...

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Not if they are plants or organisms that can survive in space. The ease of survivability could explain their natural stupidity. They don't have to adapt so they don't need to learn. Maybe the are giant weirdly shapes one cell organisms. Or normal sized oddly shaped one celled organisms, but the planet and scope of the game is small. We could be piloting super advanced nano tech!!!

 

As for the helmets not fitting through hatches. If kerbals don't need the helmets, they could take them off, walk through the hatch, slide the helmet sideways(possibly fitting), then putting it back on. It's possible the devs thought this was too tedious to animate!

Edited by Arugela
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5 minutes ago, Arugela said:

Not if they are plants or organisms that can survive in space.

I was not completely clear: they cannot survive, as is clear if you ascend a Kerbal on an EVA seat post a certain altitude (or else cheat them into another SOI) then they "pop".

Plus you are expressly forbidden from removing the helmet in vacuum.

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Seeing how even lightly clipping a craft into their heads will catapult even giant space planes up or destroy objects .... that would make sense if it was some very strong material with high pressure inside....it wouldnt give, gravity would rather give.

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