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The Cheapest Science Challenge


DRAG0Nmon
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The KSC is broke!

Nobody knows how accounting  made such an avoidable mistake, but somehow, spending has gone out of control and the Kerbals are in deep financial trouble. With investors pulling out, manufacturers cutting  supply, and the constant pressure of continuous scientific advancement, the KSC will need a grand mission and an affordable price.

The challenge- Launch a crewed mission to at least LKO, or another celestial body, in science or career mode, and gather science for as low of a price as you can.

The rules- No alt+f12, HyperEdit, MechJeb autopilot (though MechJeb for information is okay), no part mods or physic-altering mods. You may not mine and process ore for fuel, and then recover that fuel for extra profit.  Any fuel mined must be used.  Visual and informative mods are always welcome. You are allowed to Start a new science/career save, and give yourself Max-Facility or Max-Progression or Max-Tech Tree, so you have access to all parts and unrestricted building limits.  All science must be recovered.

Scoring- The equation for scoring is P=(V-R)/S, where  V= the price in the VAB or SPH, R=the recovered price, S= the science gathered, and P=your score, in funds per science. For example, if my rocket costs 80,000  funds in the VAB and I recover 20,000 funds and 100 science,  I do P=(80,000-20,000)/100, and get P=600 funds per science, or a score of 600.   

Video/Pics of important parts of your mission is a requirement. You must also include a shot or picture of your craft in the VAB, and of your recovered science and funds upon landing and craft recovery. 

My run with a scientific version of my SSTO “Burnley” got me: (76799 - 73655) / 177 = 17.76 funds per science.

zSd_kMcYcJ_8rjmjhBZBffYNEqmb7j_to5j_w2Sc7HUpACrjl36x1ccnsTnnYL0qCrz5_VGrgMpC8lFYiUCyHvkpx0h4GltsUX-JPAlMdc-jJDIE2O5_i3qzCxF40dTRIlbGtIaE                                                                                 l7N71uawF3-QW-fGr2FpgR0EjV7NlTJBlTf2XUs2K5a7W8Ecf0dnN3SmeNHvWrX0l5JN5LUA9DTbu-RrOaaeLv82FH1aUP2OSwthV9uf5FLFTIr_XsCsJ7Zl-Zc7FKN5TfFLYZag                                     

                                                                                                                                                                 AOuGZfE2Kdg33XStf-BvpgftyLRfBDbOUWcdMyrxxaEJF4UUzG2woWC1pAZ4rO-fvQ7UHGd5xZupvyd3wLiPpkRtFNF83fUJ4rT_S4DtoREDPDxh2EtBkn3d2YZ3rVrAkyo6ZSVz

 

Leaderboard:

1- @camacju= 0.04 funds / science

2- @DRAG0Nmon= 17.76 funds / science

Edited by DRAG0Nmon
damn thats cheap
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https://imgur.com/a/c6dqdzW

170 science gained. Since this was a SSTO mission with no parts lost, the only costs are fuel costs. The mission used 165 liters of liquid fuel which costs 0.8 funds per liter, and 101 liters of oxidizer which costs 0.18 funds per liter. Total mission cost is 150 funds, for 0.88 funds per science.

@DRAG0Nmon Am I calculating this correctly?

 

Edited by camacju
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On 1/5/2021 at 7:00 PM, camacju said:

https://imgur.com/a/c6dqdzW

170 science gained. Since this was a SSTO mission with no parts lost, the only costs are fuel costs. The mission used 165 liters of liquid fuel which costs 0.8 funds per liter, and 101 liters of oxidizer which costs 0.18 funds per liter. Total mission cost is 150 funds, for 0.88 funds per science.

@DRAG0Nmon Am I calculating this correctly?

 

@camacju Yes, that is correct. Great job cutting costs for the KSC, Gene will be happy!

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Honestly I think the best way to do this is with the mobile science lab in LKO, a fuel tank, and a small efficient probe. The probe flies around, could even go interplanetary, collecting science and bringing it back to the lab, where it's multiplied before being transmitted back home

 

 

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I'm trying a lab-less strategy right now which might take a while. I have a small cargo SSTO in low Kerbin orbit and an even smaller space probe that can run around the solar system and collect science.

The Kerbin ascent used 984 liters of liquid fuel in order to deliver 1208 liters of liquid fuel, a space probe, and 968 liters of oxidizer into orbit. The space probe has capacity for 72 liters of liquid fuel and 88 liters of oxidizer, meaning that it can fly out 11 times before we need to return to Kerbin.

The first expedition of the space probe flew by Mun, Minmus, Duna, and Ike. I have 3791.5 science currently and possibly 10 additional expeditions, and have expended 859.7 funds worth of liquid fuel and oxidizer. That's a current ratio of 0.22 funds per science, and the initial fuel expenditure will be amortized way down once I fly more expeditions.

Edited by camacju
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On 1/8/2021 at 1:37 PM, camacju said:

Honestly I think the best way to do this is with the mobile science lab in LKO, a fuel tank, and a small efficient probe. The probe flies around, could even go interplanetary, collecting science and bringing it back to the lab, where it's multiplied before being transmitted back home

 

 

I think the science lab needs to be in the same body/biome as the data was gathered, to be added to it and earn science.

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Part 2 of the mission:

Wow, Jool's moons have way more science than I was expecting. The second expedition got gravity assists from Eve and Kerbin before flying by Tylo, Laythe, Vall, and Pol. (I didn't have enough fuel to visit Bop).

The second flight of the probe gained 7775 science, for a total so far of 11566.5 science. 1124 liters of liquid fuel have been used so far, and 170 liters of oxidizer. That's a total of 929.8 funds worth of fuel, for a value (so far) of 0.08 funds per science. I think I'll stop here and just return home.

And I've realized that I can probably cut the expenditures in half or less, and get a super good ratio, by not bringing as much fuel and sticking just to these two expeditions. For example the probe only needed to be refueled once, which means that the SSTO itself can be made much smaller, etc.

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Ok so I'm doing another attempt at this challenge, going to try to get under 0.05 funds per science. The first expedition has many gravity assists.

Mun assist -> Eve -> Kerbin and Mun -> Kerbin -> Jool

From Jool, low Tylo assist -> Laythe -> skim the top of Jool's atmosphere

Then, Laythe aerogravity assist to Vall, then back to Laythe, then I'll try for Bop or Pol

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Ok here's my new mission. Again I left tons of room for improvement. I didn't need to bring that extra rocket fuel tank at all, and I could have made the SSTO much smaller also. CSC-2 costs 51364 funds in VAB and is recovered for 50852 funds, for a total cost of 512 funds. Using many gravity assists, it performs flybys of Mun, Minmus, Eve, Jool, Tylo, Laythe, Vall, Bop, and Pol, before returning to Kerbin. I left a good amount of science on the table also - gravity scans above Mun biomes, all science near Eve due to a timewarp glitch, and gravity scans above Eve biomes were all missed.

It brings in 14007 science, for a final score of 0.036 funds per science.

@DRAG0Nmon

https://imgur.com/a/PeakGDB

Edited by camacju
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8 hours ago, camacju said:

I bet I could get under 0.03 funds per science with a very small change to the current mission

But I probably won't unless someone else submits some runs to this challenge

Wow, that's already insanely low. How much dv does the probe have?

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