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Grannus Expansion Pack Exploration Gameplay - Sirona: Brovo Surface Exploration

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11 hours ago, GEPEG_Unconscious said:

Re-entry effects + Scatterer - Scatterer Water = weird lighting effects. I've had it happen at night and at day. Not sure why it happens. Useful for finding out if you are going to splash down at night I guess.

I had this happen all the time on my save; it has nothing to do with visual mods (I used no mods aside from GEP and Distant Object Enhancement) so there's something else going on. Glad you caught it too. Does @OhioBob know of this bug?

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Just now, darwinpatrick said:

I had this happen all the time on my save; it has nothing to do with visual mods (I used no mods aside from GEP and Distant Object Enhancement) so there's something else going on. Glad you caught it too. Does @OhioBob know of this bug?

Are you talking about the oceans turning red during reentry?  It's my understand that it's a stock bug.  I don't think it has anything to do with GEP.

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6 hours ago, OhioBob said:

Are you talking about the oceans turning red during reentry?  It's my understand that it's a stock bug.  I don't think it has anything to do with GEP.

I'm not saying you're wrong because I really don't know but in my experience the only times I ever saw it was when I was playing GEP. 

Edited by darwinpatrick
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6 hours ago, OhioBob said:

It's my understand that it's a stock bug.

News to me. I thought it was a weird interaction. This was only the second time I've seen it, and the first time at night. The other time was a really fast ascent during the day where I got re-entry effects pretty low. I've never seen this in stock, but it has been a while since I used plain stock.

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2 hours ago, JadeOfMaar said:

The anomaly of oceans reflecting reentry FX started at roughly.... KSP 1.4. Maybe 1.5. It's a stock bug and happens regardless of what planet pack is installed.


4 hours ago, OhioBob said:

Here's a report on it happening in GPP from almost two years ago.

Huh. Well alright then, I learned something today. I've done many reentries and too-fast launches since 1.4 and until now never had it happen. At least it is only a minor visual anomaly. 

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Destination Toutatis: Crewless Crafts Complete


The Tou-AV and its NTV-LA braking into Toutatis Orbit

This is the second half of the convoy heading to Toutatis during this window. Last time the Descent Vehicle and Habitat were thrown into Nodens orbit. This time it is the Ascent Vehicle. I wanted to try and do both at the same time because 1) I wanted to see how difficult it was to juggle sending mulitple interplanetary craft to a destination at a time, and 2) I didn't want to draw out this mission too long. So without further ado:

Launch of the Toutatis Ascent Vehicle:



Nautilus #3 going up



This launch took place very quickly after the previous Nautilus launch, so engineers did not modify this one to help with any of the oscillations that occur during launch.



Also like the last one, the Nautilus has to expend a small amount of its own fuel to reach orbit.



The Toutatis Ascent Vehicle (Tou-AV) is sent up on a Hurricane-P2LH (yeah, yeah its a Delta IV. But it works and looks so good.)



Center Engine starts at 60% thrust, but can be increased once the side boosters fall back.



After an uneventful rendevous, the Tou-AV Transfer Vehicle is ready to fly. In addition to the Tou-AV, this Transfer Vehicle is transporting a large node. It has enough large docking ports for all four Nautilus NTV-LA's at Toutatis and will act as a central location for them once they have all released their payloads during the mission. 


And Now for Departures:



First off is the Tou-DVH Transfer Vehicle. Departure cost the full 1390 m/s of dV required to reach Toutatis and still needed a correction burn in Grannus orbit. The increased amount of fuel consumed is likely due to a combination of a poor burn location and the low TWR of the TV despite burning LH2 and LOX for higher thrust.



Off goes the Tou-AV Transfer Vehicle. Another complication in the convoys departure was a lack of spacing in orbits. The Tou-AV was in an only slightly higher orbit than the Tou-DVH (175 km vs the standard 165 km holding orbit) and both craft were in much the same spot of their orbit at the same time. While no burn started late, the Tou-AV was switched to at exactly the second it needed to begin burning. Points for punctuality I guess, but have a safety margin of a minute or so to double check alignment and orientation is far too useful.



The Tou-AV craft also made a correction burn in Grannus orbit, but a much smaller one than the Tou-DVH, and much earlier too.


Arriving around Toutatis:



The Tou-AV, while the second to depart, was the first to arrive.



The Rover Transfer Vehicle set the precedent for incoming manuevers; brake into an elliptical orbit, correct inclination, and brake into a 111 km orbit. Coincidentally, the Tou-AV came within 60 km of the Rovers as it made its first braking burn.



Coasting to make an inclination change. The Rover TV will be used as a reference. Once back at Periapsis (Peritou?) the Tou-AV will make its final burn. It will not try to link up with any other transfer vehicle until after it has sent the Tou-AV craft to the surface.



A couple days later, the Tou-DV enters Toutatis's SOI



Another braking burn, this one a little higher up. Cost a bit more too.



Another coast-around pic. They all look the same, but I really like the shots at this altitude. Lets you see the entire craft and entire planet. Makes space seem a little less empty.


That's three transfer craft around Toutatis and three payloads ready to land on the surface. All three transfer vehicles have 1000-1500 m/s of DV, which is plenty to refuel the crew's transfer vehicle when it arrives. All that needs to be sent up from Nodens is the Transfer Vehicle, the crew hab, and the crew themselves.

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Destination Toutatis: Crew Castoff


The crewed Nautilus NTV-LA, nicknamed Coyote, assembled in orbit

It feels like there was a lot more prep for the Toutatis Mission than I planned, but everything is finally in place, and the crewed aspect of the mission can begin.



A Typhoon-R4L launches with the last required NTV-LA for the mission. After analyzing prior launches, this one had extra bracing of the NTV to see if that helped with fuel loss and wobbling.



While it did lessen the amount of wobbling, the rocket was still 100 m/s shy of putting the NTV into orbit on its own. Payload mass to orbit calculations will need to be redone.



Over at the Dessert Launch Site, A Hurricane-P2LH launches the Crew Habitation Module (CHM).



While the habitable space has a comparable number of seats as the hab module sent to Caireen, the living volume is much larger.

The CHM has its own power and communications, as well as a decent reserve of monopropellant, but the Hurricane-P upper stage was used to initiate the docking maneuver to the NTV. Due to the placement of the large docking port, the upper stage had to move out of the after starting the maneuver. The resulting volume got a little busy.



Everything ended up safely docked.



Last up is the launch of the CV-2N Hermes with crew onboard.



A Hurricane-S is more than enough to put the Hermes into low Nodens orbit. Rendezvous and docking went without issue.



After a week checking out all systems, the window to Toutatis opened, and the crew took off. They have one mid-course correction, and should arrive at Toutatis in 20 days.


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@darwinpatrick, glad you're still enjoying it. I feel the last couple of posts may have been a little monotonous because they were just launches and docking, but the next few should be a fair bit more interesting. Mostly because...


Destination Toutatis: Lightly Toasted


Hilvey Kerman takes a quick EVA around Coyote to collect and reset experiments after entering Toutatis Orbit 

This is gonna be a long one, so bear with me. There's a lot happening, and has been happening in the background throughout the last couple of posts. I felt it would be easier to consolidate them into one post, rather than spread them out. So, without further ado:

Landings #1 and #2: Automated Rovers



The Nautilus carrying the crewed rover also carried two small, automated rovers. They were sent as a supplementary mission to explore the twilight region of Toutatis. That region is too far from the crew's area of operation, but still of interest to the scientists at KSC. It was planned to drop each rover on opposite sides of the planet so as to cover the most ground.



That was not the case. Automated Rover (AR) 1 lost connection during descent. While its drogue chutes did deploy, the lack of communication meant it could not receive the command to fire its engines during final descent, and crashed into the surface.

(Note #1: this happened a while ago, before the Tou-LVH and Tou-AV arrived. As a result of this failure, those two also carried means of providing relays back to Nodens)

(Note #2: Grannus lost its sunflare effects a couple times during this. I forget if it would come back after a scene change or after restarting the game, but there a couple of pics, like this one, that lack it. Oh well)



AR-2 waited until after the arrival of additional relays before making its journey to the surface.



Between the extra relays and a more favorable angle back to Nodens, communications were not an issue this time.



Final descent was very gentle



And AR-2, nicknamed Elephantmouse landed safely in the Transitional Lowlands of Toutatis. Scatterer gives a very pleasant blue hue during the constant dusk. Very Mars-esque.



Its first destination was the location of the AR-1 crash at the edge of the sunny lowlands. Not much remained except a single wheel (which jittered and broke on the terrain when Elephantmouse approached it. From here, Elephantmouse will continue back to the Transitional Lowlands and on to the Transitional Highlands. Both trips will be done via Bon Voyage (it takes a while with this rover. It can only go about 1.3 m/s).


Landing #3: Tou-AV



The Tou-AV began its descent in an explosive fashion: 18 small SRBs gave it an 89 m/s burn. This is more than enough to put the craft onto a suborbital trajectory. Since this craft is the least mobile of the mission, it will act as a rough anchor for the rest of the craft coming down to the surface.



This is also the most critical part of the mission. It has to get down to the surface with as much dV as possible, as it is the only part of the mission that will return from the surface. A fully powered descent was tested, but was deemed too large to transport. As a result, an inflatable heat-shield was used to generate as much drag as possible. That still didn't mean the heat-shield caused other issues. On all my tests, it separated just fine. However, when it was the real deal, the dang thing kept hitting the craft when it was time to separate and use the engine. I finally got an attempt that didn't destroy the entire craft, but still lost a small RCS tank.



Once the heat-shield was gone though, everything else proceeded just fine. Drogue chutes deployed nicely, and the engine only had to kill a couple hundred m/s of velocity.



Tou-AV has about 1900 m/s of dV on the surface, more than enough to return to orbit and make a maneuver or two.


Landing #4: Crew Rover



The Crewed Rover (CR) descent platform is a lot smaller and lighter than either the Tou-AV or the Tou-DVH. In fact, it is just a copy of the CR landing platform used on Caireen, only with engines better rated for higher gravity and four drogue chutes. This is the one craft I did not test to see how it performed during landing, so it was still nerve-wracking.



The platform worked like a charm. Very little re-entry heating, and light enough the drogues did almost all the work. There was only enough fuel for about 900 m/s of dV, but the platform had over 600 left on the surface.



Only two problems emerged once on the surface. 1) the landing legs were attached to a fairing base, and the game considered them to be stowed and unable to deploy, despite the fairing itself not being stageable. And 2) the CR lacked an effective way to get off the platform. It ended up having to shimmy back and forth to get onto the ground. Thankfully, the CR still has powerful SAS, so it shimmies just fine.

The CR itself is also a copy of the one used on Caireen, with some experiments swapped out for atmospheric ones. Solar panels would have functioned just fine here (and cut cost), but KSC decided to go with a proven design.


And lastly, Crew Arrival and Landing #5:



After 20 days and an inclination maneuver, Coyote arrived in Totuatis's SOI. The TV's approach and velocity must have been the worst of all the TVs because it took a whopping 1600 m/s just to enter an ellipitcal orbit and another 300 m/s to get into a 120 km orbit. The fuel on all the other Nautiluses are a lot more critical now.



With Coyote safely in orbit, the crew could take their CV-2N, call-sign Wolf, over to Tou-DVH. It was hinted a little bit earlier, but adjusting orbits around Toutatis does not take a lot of fuel. The crew had to make a somewhat wide elliptical pass to intercept Tou-DVH, but it only cost them 100 m/s to make that orbit and 150 m/s to rendezvous. 



Once they transferred to Tou-DVH, the crew made their descent burn.



During which, Wolf made another transfer to the Nautilus that carried Tou-AV and docked to the central node that also came along. This node will become the central fuel transfer station for all the Nautiluses.



Drogues help slow down, but Tou-DVH has enough mass that it still gains speed with them deployed. The engines are the main source of braking here.



And down! Jebediah, Hilvey, and Natapont Kerman are the first kerbals to set foot on Toutatis. Jeb handled the flag while Hilvey prepares to collect science from their surroundings. Natapont apparently just wants to stand on solid ground again.

With everything in place, the surface exploration of Toutatis can begin in earnest.


Some knowledge for anyone looking to do similar landings on bodies with very thin atmospheres and tweakchutes. Toutatis's landing dV states (from the dV chart included in the mod) that a landing requires chutes + 200 m/s. Since main chutes are out, that leaves the player with just drogues. The 200 m/s holds true for lighter payloads, such as all the rovers, but heavier payloads will need more dV to brake, more chutes, or additional methods to slow down (the inflatable heat-shield is great at creating drag. Dunno how air-brakes would do.). I don't like overlapping chutes, so any more than four drogues was out. Higher thrust engines help too, as Toutatis's gravity pulls you down rather quick. The Tou-DVH had terriers, and I had to start braking 15 km up to slow down enough. (These aren't supposed to be critiques or critical thoughts of any sort, just my observations. It was actually quite fun overcoming challenges presented by tweakchutes and a low atmo body. I bet landing on Thatmo in OPM would behave very similarly in these conditions).

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13 hours ago, OhioBob said:

Whereabouts did your crew land on Toutatis?

Ah yes, landing maps. Knew I forgot something.

Slightly Circled Maps


Biome Map



Elevation Map


The circle is approximately centered on Tou-DVH. It is slightly south of the equator and north of the western most part of the Southeastern Mountains (that's not confusing to read at all). In the elevation map, there is an area of lower elevation near the top right part of the landing circle. That's a crater, and is the destination of the first rover expedition and site of the deployed science. A second expedition will go to an even smaller crater located south of the first (it's too small to see on either map). The third and final expedition will attempt to make it to the Southeastern mountains themselves. The closest are (shockingly) south east of the landing.

The landing area wasn't chosen for any particular reason. When I was testing these craft, I always did an 85-100 m/s burn right at the night-day terminator. Repeating the setup during the mission dropped everything in 50 km line in the circled area.

And yes, I know the craters aren't unique biomes, but I like having terrain features to go to while doing science. If its all the same biome, why not do it in a place more visually interesting.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Destination Toutatis: Desert Driving


The crew's rover rendezvousing with the crew shortly after landing


Well, it's been a little bit. Online learning is more difficult than one would expect, doubly when all the classes were made to be hands on and heavily feature labs. The transition to that method of learning takes a whole lot of time and discipline. Anyways, everything got down onto Toutatis last time, which means its now time for surface exploration. Originally I was going to make three rover expeditions, but I decided to cut out one trip. It would've been a short drive to a nearby crater. Since the first expedition already did that, I really did not want to do it twice.

Rover Expedition 1: Arrakis Crater



The crew's first priority after making sure everything survived landing was to perform science in the area around the lander. Here is Herfurt taking laser surface samples of the ground in the Sunny Lowlands.



Scientist Herfurt and Engineer Natapont loaded up in their rover, now dubbed Groundhog



Groundhog began the journey to a crater seen during descent. It is about 21 km northeast of the landing site.



Quite a sight from the crater rim. Looks like a good place to set up a remote science station.



Natapont is ensuring all the power connections are secure while Herfurt double checks the wind...analyzer...instrument...thingy...



Can't forget the a flag of course

Groundhog's return trip proceeded uneventfully. The crew were left to recuperate and prep for the second expedition.


Rover Expedition 2: Mountains and Highlands



After a few days, Natapont and Herfurt took Groundhog on a much more intensive excursion to the Southeastern Mountains. This trip took the rover around 89 km from the lander.



Flag in a flat spot. Elevation here is upwards of 6500 m (citation needed). Should have written it down, but they are up there.



Of course, no excursion is complete without science approved lasers. Even if you don't see them, they happen.



All the science gathering so far has been at the edge of a mountain side looking over a decently sized enclosed valley. I wanted to check the valley out just because. It was during this descent I learned Groundhog has handling issues above 20 m/s. There were a lot of f9 moments on the way down. Bonus points for floating rocks.



The flag says it like it is. Light colored terrain with the sun always overhead makes it difficult to pick out edges in the terrain. Gotta be careful when driving here.

While this is a valley, it is a mountain valley. That flag is still 5700m (citation needed) above the datum.



Groundhog stopped in the Sunny Highlands as they came out of the Southeastern Mountains on the return trip. Technically they had to pass through it to enter the Southeastern Mountains, but Bon Voyage doesn't stop unless you tell it to. It has a very nice view overlooking the Sunny Lowlands...



...As well as the Southeastern Mountains themselves.



Round trip to and from the mountains took far less time than expected; it has been less than a day since the two left behind the lander. 


Only a couple more things to do around Toutatis. The main one is refueling Coyote. That will be a bit painful.

This mission has been quite a lot of fun, but more intensive than I expected when I first planned it. I'm a little relieved the end of it is in sight.

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Destination Toutatis: Computer Melting Madness


A view of Coyote as it departs Toutatis

The end is in sight! The Toutatis mission is almost complete. All that's left it to do before sending the crew up is...dock...all...the transfer vehicles....for refueling....This is gonna be a pain to do with all the part count. Well now, lets get to it.




Coyote has next to zero fuel, so the Nautilus with the Transfer Vehicle Hub had to come to it.



Coyote and Coyote's hab are both moving to rendezvous with the other Nautilus there. It was really graceful to see all three moving together. Like a multi-ton dance.



Nautilus #3 on approach



Nautilus #4 making a near perfect zero distance braking maneuver



Part count getting up above 250 here. The slowdown is real, and the fans are blowing all they got.



"Any port in a storm" or some such. I really wanted to stress test my computer I guess.



Final Part Count: 301 parts. This blob represents all orbiting craft barring four probes. Game is really crawling here.



The mass stayed together long enough to transfer all the LH2 and LOX to Coyote.



Coyote got reassembled and out of physics range as quick as it could.

The dot in the distance isn't actually the Ascent Vehicle. The Nautilus that carried it took that name after the Ascent Vehicle went to the surface.

The fueling operation gave Coyote 3093 m/s with the CV-2N attached. That should be more than enough to get home safely.

Transfer window opens in 10 days. Time for the crew to get off the dirt.



So...problem. There are three crew, and two spots on the rover. Oops. Gonna need to make two trips.



Herfurt and Jeb took the first drive to the ascent vehicle. While the rover can be driven automatically, Jeb will be present for all legs of the trip.



Natapont takes one last look at the hab before leaving.

This rover is the underrated hero of the mission. It has done so much driving on Toutatis. 15 km from its landing site to the hab, 21 km each direction to and from the crater, 88 km to and from the Southeastern Mountains, and 43 km for each of the three legs between the hab and the ascent vehicle. 335 km in total!



Off they go.



The enemy's gate is...up?

Fuel margins were tighter than testing, but the crew made it just fine. All three took a little jaunt across to Coyote.



Departure burn is a go.



Travel time was 13 days. Its good to see blue again



Love these views



Coyote will stay in orbit. The lab has some research available to do, so a crew can come up in a future date.



One last burn



Somehow, Coyote's braking burn put it into the same inclination as the KSC, so of course the crew aimed to set down there. They ended up a little long and a little south, but you can still see the KSC to the left of the capsule.



(From left to right): Herfurt, Jebediah, and Natapont, first Kerbals to land and return from Toutatis!

And there's the second body in the Grannus system conquered. Science returns from Toutatis brought the total science count to above 8800 (not that we are counting too much). I had hoped this mission would've been a quick one, but the scope grew bigger than initially planned. I think that will be the case for all these missions. Speaking of missions, the next one is already in motion, and the first parts of it are almost complete. Looking forward to this one.

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3 hours ago, GEPEG_Unconscious said:

Well this makes an excellent end to the week. It has indeed been a journey of trials and tribulations. Thank you kindly.


So, what are you gonna do with the badge? You gonna do the celebratory billboard? I hear they're really cheap right now... XD

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8 hours ago, OhioBob said:

@GEPEG_Unconscious, congratulations on thread of the month.  The effort you've put into these missions makes it well deserved.


7 hours ago, Kerballing (Got Dunked On) said:


Thank you both for the kind words and colorful paper.


7 hours ago, Kerballing (Got Dunked On) said:

So, what are you gonna do with the badge?

Honestly, I really know nothing about badges.

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Destination Sirona: They Should've Sent A Poet


Sirona rises over the limb of Airmed after Precedence-Sir makes a close pass over the moon

We seem slightly more popular today, so why not commemorate it with the start of a new mission. Sirona and its moons are some of my favorite locations in the Grannus system and I am quite excited to thoroughly explore them. Before the crew blasts off though, a probe is in order, so lets hop to it.



Liftoff of a Hurricane-P2LH carrying the spacecraft Precedence-Sir to the stars!



I'll be honest, Precedence-Sir was launched a while ago. I think the Toutatis crew hadn't left yet. Coyote might not have been assembled even. I'm not really sure. It was also one of the first launches from the Dessert Launch Site. Launching from closer to sea level means the rocket has to fight through more of Noden's thicker atmosphere, but I like the aesthetic of the location more.



Precedence-Sir went up on either the first or second Delta-IV Hurricane Heavy launched in this save. I think this pic was me admiring the clean side booster separation more than anything.



The Hurricane-P upper stage used most of it's fuel to kick Precedence-Sir out towards Sirona.



And the job was finished by the nuclear boost stage. A transfer to Sirona takes approximately 3300 m/s to get an intercept. I like to make sure my orbital inclination matches Belisama before starting the transfer burn. I don't know if it actually helps, but the two bodies have similar inclinations relative to Nodens.



And the journey begins



Transit between Nodens and the edge of Sirona's SOI takes around 90 days.



I have taken many pictures in this save that I am proud of, but this one takes the cake. I just can't stop looking at it.

Orbital insertion was under 2000 m/s to get an orbit that wasn't terribly eccentric. A short correction burn or two later, and Precedence-Sir reaches its first destination...



...Brovo! I can't believe this is the only picture I took during the flyby. The probe is too far away to make anything out, but there is some special terrain on Brovo. I like to consider Brovo a fusion of Mars and Neptune's moon Triton that was then put into orbit around Saturn. I really can't wait to get down there. And I still can't believe this is all I took during the flyby....



After a few more loops around Sirona and a burn, Precedence-Sir entered the sphere of influence of Sirona's nearest moon, Airmed.



Scientists sometimes see Airmed as light colored, and other times the moon appears to be dark colored. Today seems to be a dark day. The transition between those two colors can kinda be seen in the last image. The probe is about 13 km above the surface here.



A look back at the inner Grannus system as Precedence-Sir departs Airmed. Sirona is about five times farther from Grannus than Nodens, so by the inverse square law, those solar panels are generating only 1/25 times the power out here than further down the well. I think the two gigantor panels only generate 2-2.5 EC/s when the batteries need recharging. Might need to look at other forms of power to keep LH2 cryo tanks powered.



And the final destination of Precedence-Sir's primary mission: Damona. Don't worry, it is most definitely a moon.



That's a big crater. Too bad it's on the far side of the moon. Won't have Sirona watching over any crew exploring it.



It really draws the eye. If Damona had higher gravity, the crater would be perfect for racing.



About 10 km over the surface here, and beyound the crater wall. Here it can be seen how much the crater interrupts the curvature of the moon. Whatever collision made this would have been close to breaking the moon apart entirely.



And as Damona fades away, Precedence-Sir's primary mission is complete. These last couple of pictures were taken just before the Toutatis crew returned home. Haven't done anything with the probe, and not sure what I should do. It has about 1200 m/s of dV left, so it will likely make one more burn to Brovo and make orbit there.


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One more little post here, showcasing some of @darwinpatrick's science definitions. Today's special is apparently his (humorous) disdain for the barometer's feedback about barometric pressure in a vacuum:



While I agree a zero reading is always boring, I will happily take the sweet 65-80 science for the number zero. Though I do fear the day that number changes while still in a vacuum.

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17 hours ago, GEPEG_Unconscious said:

Honestly, I really know nothing about badges.

Typically, TOTM bosses such as yourself edit the OP and put the badge there. (Right-click the badge to get the image url and then paste it.) You can also put the badge in your profile signature if you like.

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1 hour ago, OhioBob said:

you might be interested in this...

You sir, have impeccable timing. I spent all of yesterday updating to 1.8.1 to play with some of the new restock and scansat parts. This makes it even better, thank you.

For those interested in what Heatshifter does, have a look down below.



The top image is in 1.7.3, and the temperature is about 350 K, which is roughly 76 oC. That's really hot for a region in perpetual twilight with very little atmosphere to move heat around. The bottom image is in 1.8.1 with HeatShifter installed, and the thermometer is reading a little over 250 K, or approximately -23 oC. That seems much more appropriate for this region. I will have to try and get a connection to the Rover on the sunny side of Toutatis and compare temps there too.

Some other stuff has been added to the save as well. Scansat's new parts look wonderful and the visual scanning mode makes really nice maps. After seeing how little EC the solar panels generate at Sirona, Near Future Electrical also got installed so I don't need to build massive solar blankets to keep the cryo tanks powered.

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