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The Eve Rocks Challenge (v0.90 only)


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And why does everyone think my ship is scary?

It's those landing legs, those things are creepy!

Why did you put decouplers at the tips of your landing gear, by the way?

I saw it on somebody's design, and after testing it a bunch it ended out working really well for me.

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Why did you put decouplers at the tips of your landing gear, by the way?

That was my finding, here. Cubic struts sink and stick into ground, not letting you take off, while decouplers do not.

It's basically a free (zero mass) bulletproof landing gear. By the way, the biggest NASA decoupler is massless too, so you can get a very big free landing gear.

Yep. I use indestructible facilities for most of my sandbox saves. And why does everyone think my ship is scary?

Many lateral tanks, everything looks very fragile. Like it can't be hard anymore and wants to reach hydrostatic equilibrium. :)

Edited by Kulebron
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I thought this would be relatively easy if I minimize the Eve ascent stage

*smiles*

pray continue...

Eve stage quickly grew to 300t. That's insane!

*leans back, smiles wider*

Vaporo's lander is using a lot of aerospike-asparagus stages, I guess it should be pretty close to the theoretical minimum weight. Still 280t (including legs and parachutes).

But, in case I haven't said this often enough: you don't have to do it in a single launch. Refueling in orbit will be entirely acceptable (actually, I expected it to be the more common approach when I put up the challenge).

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Here it is. Stock + MechJeb. No control surfaces or glitch exploits, even only 6 massless parts. (I get some good thrust with monopropellant engines, but those can be replaced with T100 tanks and 48-7S engines in asparagus.)

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Not sure I want to complete the whole challenge. I guess I can throw it (empty) in orbit (attached upside down), and then start refuelling. What a long story...

[edit] Ah, Signo went even lower in mass. Maybe I'll absorb his ideas.

Edited by Kulebron
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@Kulebron. Interesting, do you have shots of it's trip to Eve? For proof of course.

Also, I liked the small harpoints more than the decouplers for landing legs, they have a higher crash tolerance and are still massless (and cooler looking too).

@Laie. You ask for a Eve rover, you get a Eve rover

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I liked the pointers you gave me about my ship, so I improved it a bit. More delta v, and a rover probe to boot!

I got all the science from Eve, except for a few crew reports and EVA reports higher up. But I got all the good stuff, including ocean samples (YAY, level 2!).

Here is the craft file in case anybody wants to give it a try.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0j3ztvd967b2epf/Eve%20Return%20Craft%20V.craft?dl=0

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Jeb made it to Eve and back! Most of the tale is in the descriptions for the photos, but here are some key details:

Running 0.25 with MechJeb2, Final Frontier, KAS, Editor Extensions, TAC Fuel Balancer, Active Texture Management, Chatterer, Kerbal Alarm Clock, Claw's stock bug fixes, Fine Print, Kerbal Construction Time (disabled for this save), TAC-LS (also disabled for this save), and Karbonite (but no Karbonite parts were used). I created a new career save with ultra-easy options so I could unlock the entire tech tree and have 10M funds after just a few missions.

The ship is 1,664 tons on the pad, and cost 702,696 funds. It was topped off in LKO with a separate tanker which weighed 698 tons and cost an additional 168,202 funds, for a total tonnage of 2,362 and total cost of 870,898 funds.

The lander itself was 200 tons prior to descent, and 175 tons just prior to liftoff from Eve. Enjoy!

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Edited by Norcalplanner
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Not sure I want to complete the whole challenge. I guess I can throw it (empty) in orbit (attached upside down), and then start refuelling. What a long story...

Just updated the rules:

Talking about refueling: in LKO, I will be content if you showcase your solution once. After that, you may resort to magic. No need to actually fly a dozen milk runs. However, I do want to see a solution that seems halfways adequate. Don't tell me you'd deliver the fuel a spoonful at a time.

I don't know what happened, that paragraph was supposed to be there since day one (even the first draft had some words to that effect). Somehow it must have fallen under the table. And I was wondering why noone was considering refueling in space... Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

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Hi all, my mission is progressing toward the final "career" release. Now I am adding gadgets to the ship to maximize the amount of science I can get from the trip.

Here you have a few pics of the new upgrades you can find listed below.

- Command bridge

- New main lander descent stage (doubled range and TWR)

- VTOL manned rover (will of course stay on Eve and not be recovered, but not before paying a visit to Gilly too. This should be enough to gather the ocean sample)

- Secondary pod ion lander (really oversize for Gilly but I use this design pretty often in my space program)

- 5 crew re entry/living module

- mothership pilons redesigned to act as an orbital refuelling station core after mission use

- RCS tugs that will help recovering and docking the lander and the rover (one of them will be left in Gilly's orbit to act as a permanent "transmit science" sat cheat)

Enjoy the pics and thank you for reading.

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Hmmm. And then there's Slashy who would land an empty rocket together with several tanker-rovers (which I thought to be nifty, if expensive). I think I'll leave this unresolved for a while, lets see if it becomes an actual problem.

Edit to add: I've seen lots and lots of landing gear designs, also contraptions that I'd never have thought of. I don't see why landing an empty vessel would be any more exploity than (say) a landing gear made of 200 cubic struts.

Hmm, if refueling is accepted then it's a LOT more easier because:

- I don't have to push a 400+ tons rocket to Eve. Pushing 40 tons only downsizes my main ship about 1/5th size at least.

- easier to land (less part count and landing struts and so)

- refueling is easy too because I don't need to land any tanker-rover or anything, a little miner head is enough on the side of the rocket which will be decoupled before takeoff

- making Jebediah's Level may be a lot easier because a miner head is less weight than tons of extra fuel for a soft rocket-powered touchdown.

considering these, do you still allow refueling?

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I think this mission is too big to restrict refuelling, and more than that, it makes no sense in any way. Who cares in how many parts you moved something if you did it?

So basically, if you refuel, you can simplify tanks operations, and send as many orange tanks as needed, with wheels and a few legs, rather than excercize in extreme landing gears.

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May I respectfully suggest either a sub challenge or freestyle category for those ships which refuel on the surface of Eve? That said, I'm not sure how to reconcile surface refueling with the requirement for a stockish lander. Or are people talking about shipping full fuel tanks separately from Kerbin? Personally, none of these methods sound any easier, unless there's a contest for lowest weight on the launch pad.

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I think this mission is too big to restrict refuelling, and more than that, it makes no sense in any way. Who cares in how many parts you moved something if you did it?

So basically, if you refuel, you can simplify tanks operations, and send as many orange tanks as needed, with wheels and a few legs, rather than excercize in extreme landing gears.

"it makes no sense in any way" - well, in real life space exploration you CAN'T refuel. So it depends on what your gameplay style is like.

And on the other hand empty tanks and refueling makes this challenge much-much easier. This is the real point and question here.

I agree with Norcalplanner, maybe there should be an other category for refueling, because that's not a good thing if a normal stock 3rd level is harder than a refueling Jebediah's Level.

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I'm not sure how to reconcile surface refueling with the requirement for a stockish lander

Kethane refueling needs only a miner head on the side with a tiny Kethane tank and a converter to make Kethane into liquid fuel and oxidizer. It's less than 2 tons alltogether, and after refueling it can be detached from the rocket's side so it may become a stock rocket.

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Kethane refueling needs only a miner head on the side with a tiny Kethane tank and a converter to make Kethane into liquid fuel and oxidizer. It's less than 2 tons alltogether, and after refueling it can be detached from the rocket's side so it may become a stock rocket.

Agreed that it's a small number and mass of parts, but Laie said he's unwilling to install any mods and that a sanitized, unmodded craft file still needs to work for both the descent and the ascent. If kethane isn't installed, then such a lander won't work.

And just for the record, I'm a big fan of ISRU, and really enjoyed the Jool-5 Kethane challenge. I just view landing on Eve as a different sort of challenge, primarily involving weight optimization, landing systems, and structural issues.

Edited by Norcalplanner
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I don't get it. There was no refuelling restriction in the original post, and I don't see how making this design decision makes you more worthy than one who worked more optimally. (I can make a jet powered reusable lifter for instance.) Like if Apollo missions were not really worthy because they used a specialized lander and rendezvous.

I agree it's harder to launch all the huge stuff in one rocket, but it's as big a merit as launching an entire space station at once.

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First off, @Norcalplanner: I'll get to your entry shortly, I promise.

- refueling is easy too because I don't need to land any tanker-rover or anything, a little miner head is enough on the side of the rocket which will be decoupled before takeoff

I think this mission is too big to restrict refuelling, and more than that, it makes no sense in any way. Who cares in how many parts you moved something if you did it?

Key point (to me) is that you need to have your logistics sorted out. Where the fuel comes from isn't that important, and I won't insist on picture proof of every refueling trip (certainly not in LKO, and possibly not elsewhere, either), but the Eve lander needs fuel, it has to come from somewhere, and I want to see a solution I can believe in. I expected that mining on Gilly would be comparatively more hassle and that only people who are fond of mining would even consider that option -- and if they're so fond of mining, I don't want to take away their favorite mod. It didn't even occur to me that people could put a mine on Eve itself, because frankly, who in their right mind would even do that? A mine rightfully belongs on a low-gravity moon so that you can easily ship away the product.

Yes, I'm naive.

All pictures of mining operations I've seen so far looked like pretty intricate operations. If one can easily integrate a mining rig into their lander, this will be functionally indistinguishable from magic. I'd cry foul because this would go against the spirit of the challenge.

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Jeb made it to Eve and back! Most of the tale is in the descriptions for the photos, but here are some key details:

Enjoy!

That was very enjoyable indeed. It's almost as if you tailored the mission to my preferences -- and you documented many of the small, matter-of-course steps with a good explanation of how and why, turning this into a fine HOWTO, that is nonetheless a pleasure to view.

Congratulations!

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@Laie. You ask for a Eve rover, you get a Eve rover

LOL (literally, I'm audibly laughing)

That looks just like the kind of vessel one should take across Eve's dunes. So, Kudos for style -- but knowing a thing or two about rovers, I don't even want to know how much trouble it gave you (well, you show some of it in the pics, but that's probably not even half of it). How did you manage to turn it up again?

Updating the front page.

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@all: I see some of you asked me for more proof and Laie mentioned not being naive. I have to say, that the ascent ship I posted was just a show of concept, not a submission to this challenge. I don't pretend anything with that, just showed that a lighter lander is possible.

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I expected that mining on Gilly would be comparatively more hassle and that only people who are fond of mining would even consider that option -- and if they're so fond of mining, I don't want to take away their favorite mod. It didn't even occur to me that people could put a mine on Eve itself, because frankly, who in their right mind would even do that? A mine rightfully belongs on a low-gravity moon so that you can easily ship away the product.

Yes, I'm naive.

All pictures of mining operations I've seen so far looked like pretty intricate operations. If one can easily integrate a mining rig into their lander, this will be functionally indistinguishable from magic. I'd cry foul because this would go against the spirit of the challenge.

Mining on Gilly doesn't make sense, it would be too difficult compared to an Eve surface miner which is landed with the rocket. If you decouple that during reentry then it doesn't even need wheels to go close enough for mining/refueling.

I forgot about the rule that your lander have to go down as a stock ship too, but that doesn't really make it harder because attaching a minimalistic mining-rover to it and detaching during reentry is easy too. It rolls there and the Kerbal links it to the rocket with a KAS pipe.

I made a quick sample rover and it weighs 2.3 tons. It has a mining head, kethane tanks on the sides and a converter as the body, and a KAS container for the pipe ends which can be used to connect the rover with the rocket.

It doesn't need too much logistics so I think doing this is much easier than a stock landing/leaving. Landing on Eve with the stock game is the hardest single mission what I can imagine and should be legendary. Launching an empty return rocket from Kerbin and bringing it to Eve and landing it there and then refueling is much easier than doing the same with a fully fueled one.

So I think it is important to distinct them somehow.

By the way I like both stock and Kethane mod and my mission will involve a Kethane surface explorer plane anyway. :) But I'm going to wait on Laie's decision about this topic if I want to send an empty rocket or a fueled one. :)

HKvbkbq.jpg

Edited by Ziv
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@all: I see some of you asked me for more proof and Laie mentioned not being naive.

You should read that again. It was *me* who was naive. I was under the assumption that a) mining necessarily looks like this and B) noone would consider a throw-away mine on Eve.

@Ziv: thanks for the demo. Mining on Eve will be explicitly forbidden.

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Hi! Just an update on what's hitting on right now.

I decided to build a space station around Eve's orbit, but it's tougher than it seems.

Getting there isn't a problem, the problem is I'm nub in rendezvousing and I nearly ficked up everything because of one failed stage launch. I have a 7 module station, all consisting of fuel tanks and a habitation module. Now is the time to dock my spaceplane to the mainsail and head out to Eve, then dock with the station, refuel, and..well, get myself landed on Eve. Inside the spaceplane, I have a small manned rover which is not top heavy so that I can safely drive around Eve without much hustle. I tested everything and it all works, I tested with HyperEdit. I hope having so many parts in this challenge is not illegal, because if so, I will be very sad because so much planning went into the space station and the spaceplane. One thing I didn't test is the spaceplane's capability to fly around Eve, as-well as it's ability to lift up from it. I guess we'll find out! I'll post all the pics I can, since I already have pics of the space station, space plane, rover, and...well I guess now is the time to do it.

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