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    EXPLORATION! The stranding of a million Kerbals is a necessity!
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    Messing up crisp white sheets. With dirty boots.

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  1. Best not to edit the file structure you find in the download. It’s gonna mess things up. The mod needs to know where things are, and that means keeping the structure you find in the download. exception: any ModuleManager patches you make or download can be placed anywhere in GameData, unless instructed otherwise.
  2. It isn’t KIS/KAS or Hangar. He isn’t storing parts or ships. He’s breaking down parts into MaterialKits, which is a USI MKS functionality. (Beardy says it at the time stamp: “using USI... we can break it down into its constituent MaterialKits and SpecializedParts”). If you’re wondering how new ships come about because of it, he’s using Extraplanetary Launchpads, which in combination with MKS constructs those MaterialKits and SpecializedParts to vessels in situ. (Without MKS, EL still does the same thing but follows its own resource logic.)
  3. Okay, now that we’re in the proper forum... there are already prebuilt patches for the more popular life support mods (under the Patches sub folder in the mod folder) that assigns the fish tank to do things appropriate for a fish tank. For example, in Snacks, while it will not make Snacks from Ore like the greenhouses, it will recycle waste soil into snacks (not sure of the differentials between the greenhouse and fish tank, maybe the fishies do better?). TACLS would do things different. On installing both SSPXr and a life support mod, the part window will update to show the LS converters and the rates involved. So, you gotta pick a life support mod first before expecting this mod to do life support. Otherwise, as a stock game has no life support needs whatsoever, all the fish tanks and greenhouses do is give unique science experiments. As for making the fish tank do something other than what had been programmed in the existing patches, that’s gonna take some config editing—and can lead to interminable arguments all over the place about “fish tanks can’t do that.” But it is your game, so...
  4. I’d like to know which Beardy video (and which time stamp) so we can see exactly what you’re referencing. But like Igor said, KIS doesn’t store entire vessels (unless Beardy stripped the vessel down for parts). You might actually have been seeing the Hangar mod in action though: that does the entire-vessel-storage bit.
  5. Hmm, I can’t recall seeing an Aquaculture Lab as part of KPBS. Was that added because of another mod being present? Otherwise, I do recall seeing an Aquaculture Lab as part of SSPXr. I can’t recall if it produces Snacks for the Snacks mod, though—and other LS mods might treat it differently, so we’ll also need to know what your life support mod is as well.
  6. Chapter Ten - Laying the Foundations Desserts of Duna was nice and all, but like I said in Chapter One, it is a highlight, but not the reason. Think of it this way: in an eagerness to get to Mars and Venus soonest (and preserve the industrial and institutional base that put a man on the Moon), there was commissioned a set of studies known as EMPIRE: EARLY Manned Planetary-Interplanetary Roundtrip Expeditions. But what I wanted was UMPIRE: an Ultimate MPIRE (okay, too arrogant). Universal MPIRE (misnomer; working with stock planets here). Undying MPIRE? (don't tempt fate, B-STRK.) Untouchable? Ukelele? Uvula? (okay, stop drinking the mouthwash, boy.) Either way, if this Program wanted to go bigger, then it means really, really breaking free of the chains of gravity. And by gravity I mean Kerbin. And by Kerbin, I mean two things: The limitations of having to fit everything into my launch vehicles' throw weight and fairing size capacities. The limitations of having the necessary funds to cover launch costs (even considering recovery). (Source: NASA MSFC c/o Wired) All this meant one thing: infrastructure. Von Braun had his ideas, NASA had their ideas, I bet Korolev had ideas, Roscosmos had ideas. So do we Kerbal players, and more often than not it involves making use of that minty ball beyond the Mun, Minmus, for all she's got. (And boy does she have a lot. Besides mint.) Making use of that minty ball, and In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU), and if not playing stock, one of the orbital construction mods (Extraplanetary Launchpads, Global Construction, and lately USI Konstruction + MKS). And an unhealthy imagination of building a space empire umpire. So it's time to put Minmus to work, and to put the Elisabeth missions on prime time. Although full disclosure time, it had been prime time while the DoD fleet was headed to Duna. Needed something to do during the downtime, after all. Rewinding the tape: Elisabeth I was about landing Bill and a couple of other engineers onto Minmus before building out KSX Stirling in Artemis III, because experience. (pre-Artemis III) Elisabeth II was about getting a Curiosity-style rover onto Minmus, partly for additional Science, yes, but also to survey potential base sites. (post-Artemis III, pre-DoD-I departure) This was the prelude to the main event: Elisabeth III. MOSS. (Hehe, another punny. And I'm not talking about the acronym.) I know other people have come up with "MOSS" as an acronym for a Minmus shipyard before. Two guys on Reddit, at least. Once upon a time, B-STRK had a lot of time on his hands to make MOSS grow. Of course, this was supposed to be the time he was studying for the bar exam (c. 2017). Even I've tried it out years ago when the mod was still called "Ground Construction" because it did not have orbital construction capability yet, although I could not not make the MOSS acronym fit. With the mod now called Global Construction though, and with a robust set of capabilities, it's time to make the MOSS--the Minmus Orbital/Surface Shipyard complex--grow. Okay, some MOSS basics. First, why a Minmus shipyard? (Although this is a question everyone else has answered, but it's worth revisiting. Again.) It's got Ore. It's the Spice, the Tiberium, the Mana of KSP. And he who controls the Spice, etc., etc. Low surface gravity makes lifting heavies off the surface delta-cheaper, whether it's raw materials or finished products. At industrial scales, there will be heavies. Drop them on your foot, and there will be blood. Low gravity also means low orbital speeds, making rendezvous maneuvers easier, and reducing speed differentials between orbital altitudes. When elephants want to swing their weight around, you make things easier for everyone or pay the price for the damage to the floor/the walls/the bystanders. At least half the time departing from Minmus to interplanetary space is a low-ΔV, low TWR affair in exchange for losing the LKO Oberth effect, and some corrections in solar orbit. Sure, it's inelegant, it's not the most efficient, and it's not something that would win you plaudits from mission planners no doubt. But if you've got all that minty fuel, why not, right Qu ("Step 1: screw it, just burn straight to Duna")? All of that makes the nine-day regular journey to Minmus (and the nine days back) worth it. Sometimes you don't even have to make the journey back: at a later stage, it is intended that majority if not all of DSV replenishment and refurbishment will happen at Minmus, once all the pieces are in place. Propellant, nuclear fuel, Snacks!, if I really want to push it, even manufacturing EVA items in situ instead of bringing in a care package from KSC. Kerbin would still be necessary only because kerbals have to come from somewhere, for the odd contract requiring a launch from Kerbin, and when I'm lazy enough to trade Funds for workload. That was in the future though. Right now (which is just after the DoD flotilla departed Kerbinspace at the end of Chapter Three) we have some MOSS to grow. There are two segments to the MOSS complex, the Orbital and Surface components. Orbital does the ship construction, while Surface pushes resources up to feed Orbital's foundries. And without the benefit of MKS's or WOLF's logistics systems or WBI Pathfinder's surface-to-orbit mass driver to outsource or automate logistics, the MOSS logistics system will have to be done... well not "manually", since I do have Gravity Turn and MechJeb to make all this as push-button as possible. But certainly live and on-screen, as opposed to pushed to the background. No one said running an offworld industry was easy, compared to the rocket science. But hey, like the proverb goes: "Amateurs study tactics. Professionals download a project management app and hires some college intern to do the numbers crunching for them. And then underpays them, saying 'Why are you asking for more money, I am paying you with experience/exposure/networking, you should be grateful.'" Tsk, tsk. And they have the temerity to complain about employee turnover, too. Jump drives not included. Orbital is MOSS STN Daidalos. Yes, it shares the same name, and the inspiration for its design as the other Shipyard Daidalos, the one that gives the Cylons a good fr[can I say this word here?]ing to the very end of the Twelve Colonies. And I do have Daidalos and BSG Deadlock to thank for steering my design decisions. Originally I wanted the Orbital segment to look akin to the Jool shipyard in the KSP 2 trailer. Every attempt to do so however led to parts bloat, impossible-to-launch components, and criticisms from the Kraken saying even it's not as ugly as my attempted designs. God, I hope whatever I can build with KSP 2 won' be as ugly as sin. Trying to get this station right to the eyes as it was to the functions was purgatory enough as it is. MOSS STN Daidalos Modules launch campaign: Spoilers because a lot of launch pictures: This launch campaign burned the Launch Pad and the budget almost to a crisp. The latter was even more painful, because in the interests of saving time the Surface segment was launched immediately afterwards: the Ground Construction Kit containing the MOSS Logistics Support Facility (Tier 2), an expendable Construction Facility and enough MaterialKits to construct the MLSF. Daidalos fully constructed values vF 2,152,509. Launching all the components ate up vF5,108,431, and since the upper stages also doubled as the injectors/tugs to Minmus, a lot of that cost was not coming back to Kerbin for Stage Recovery. Add to that vF1,470,590 launching the components needed for the Surface segment (launched together with the Daidalos modules to save time), and that's 6,579,021 Funds to throw a shipyard complex to Minmus. Without Stage Recovery, there was no way the present bank could have sent up this flotilla in one launch campaign. But you're not here to hear about accounting gripes. Onwards to the heavy metal: MOSS STN Daidalos orbital assembly: Spoilers again because MOAR PICS: Ah, Daidalos. Finally. Port of call for the Minmus system, and MOSS's orbital shipyard. Houses an assigned crew of six engineers, two pilots, and three scientists, plus transients visiting Minmus, from tourists looking for a good time to plankowner crews to take possession of new constructions. Speaking of port, time to bring the engineering team over from Kerbin (just in time, too, freshly graduated from TOPMUN), and NGL Razgriz to her permanent home base. And with a permanent presence in Minmus orbit established, time to get three of the engineers down to the surface, where construction of the Surface segment awaits. MOSS Logistics Support Facility (MLSF), Tier 2 construction campaign: Spoilers again because oh God how many gigabytes is my screenshots folder eating up? And that is the Surface segment, KXS Elisabeth, the MOSS Logistics Support Facility, Tier 2. Tier 2 because Tier 1 was a basic Ore and LFO rig that I felt insufficient, so I added a MaterialKits printer (c/o KPBS + OSE) that after its first use also still wasn't enough, so a later mission came along to add MOAR MatKit printers. Tier 2 also because what I wanted was a simple facility that could be launched relatively quick and easy to get MOSS on the ground running. We can always save the more ambitious (and longer-to-construct) stuff for later. The power to chew mint and spit out useful products is provided by a 1.25m-scale USI reactor. In addition to earlier observations about the NFT, USI, and WBI reactors, given that the USI reactors auto-scale their output to demand, these units are sipping nuclear fuel compared to their orbital NFT counterparts, e.g., the 2.5m one aboard Daidalos (which I had to leave at a minimum percent output given the constant demands of all its converters, the excess EC just being spilled out). Meaning I don't expect to refuel this for a long time (a good thing because I still haven't figured out how to refuel USI reactors yet, can anyone help me out here?). The Surface segment's primary role is to push Ore to Orbital, to be converted by Daidalos' battery of ISRU converters into the intermediate products for ship construction and outfitting: SpecializedParts, MaterialKits, propellants (LF, O, Mono, and Lithium), and Snacks! A secondary role is to augment Daidalos' MaterialKits production with the MLSF's own inherent MatKits converter(s--the plural came later); luckily the resource transfer shuttle's (USI Core) bulk solids storage tanks can be easily repurposed from Ore to MaterialKits and back in the field. Speaking of which, that MOSS bulk goods shuttle, Launch #11 of this campaign Kerbal Construction Time must hate me. And I tried coming up with an acronym, or pun, or some fancy word salad title for arguably the most important vessel in the entire MOSS framework. But, seeing that Ore is the KSP universe's Spice, Tiberium, or "can I have some shoes?" $$$ you can tell I LOVED C&C Generals, even considering that it can also carry MatKits, and this vessel's role in liberating the Program from Kerbin's physical and economic constraints, it was most appropriate to dub this most important worker of the fleet the "Ore Truck." Because this is all about the one place not corrupted by capitalism. MOSS Primary Resource Supply evolution: Spoilers, spoilers, everywhere, and not a fresh drop of water to drink. And that's what she wrote. MOSS is open for business. And now let's get down to business, to defeat the Hun Mun Sun--wait, what? No no no, we're not doing the entire "conquest of space" theme here. Switch soundtracks, something more ethereal, humanistic, uplifting, befitting the exploratory and aspirational themes of the Program. ♫ "Sandstorm" by Darude ♫ It's clear my computer hates me after all that gameplay, screenshot management, and typing.
  7. So after wrapping up that Duna Elcano, found time to expand the fleet a bit with a new tender support vessel (top pic) and deep space science exploration vessel:
  8. Other than config edit which is beyond my skill set, try the following mods: 1. Configurable Containers, Allista (same mod author as Global Construction's). Convert existing tanks to store MaterialKits. 2. USI Core, Roverdude. Dedicated tanks which can be switched in the build scene or in the field to carry MaterialKits, among other stock and CRP resources. 3. I am not sure which specific Near Future Technology (Nertea) submod carries containers similar to the USI Core. But they're there. EDIT: my mistake. After verification, they're in Station Parts Expansion Redux, also Nertea.
  9. Just completed the Mission Report to a Duna Elcano with a Homeworld Deserts of Kharak-derived vehicle. The Report thread has all the details, including Mod List (Chapter One), how all the associated hardware got there and landed (Chapters Three, Four, Five, Six), and the Elcano proper (Chapters Seven-Nine Sol 3). Also I swore I wouldn't do an Elcano again, but, yeah, ta-da!
  10. Chapter Nine, Sol 3 -- The Elcano (Beat of the Rising Sun) Let's finish this BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 62 Time: 1:54:15 Departing Area JR-3X NO. NO EUROBEAT. Okay. Fine. I've got nothing to talk about for 99km until the Western Canyon, anyway. But if we're going to do this, while we're driving this war car (because Duna = Mars, get it? Get it? ), we're using the Fifth Stage OST. "A Perfect Hero" - Chris Stanton - SUPER EUROBEAT presents 頭文字[イニシャル]D Final D Selection "Give me your sexy body" indeed, Chris. "Orange sus." "THEY'RE ALL ORANGE, NUMBNUTS!" God, why didn't suit customization become a thing in 1.9.x?! VH-07 "Choco" In flight, ELC19, The Westmouth 6° 47’ 55” S, 57° 32’ 42” W Every single Science evolution, every single one, the scientist on board must pop out for an EVA report, download the data from the hard drive, download the data from the instrument that could not fit in the hard drive (usually the atmospheric scoop), and reset experiments for the second, in-situ processing copy. If the pilot were an impostor, this would be a perfect kill opportunity right about now--and no one else would know about it. Besides the atmospheric Science, however, Bob also wanted to take an aerial view of what is being marked by the cartographers as the Westmouth, while Jeb was itching for any excuse to stretch the Honey Bee's wings a little further. So after depositing the Science and instruments back on the Baserunner, they lift off again for a topographic survey flight. We're calling the place the Westmouth because analysis of the mapping scans suggests this must have been the mouth of a river that cut through the Western Canyon long ago. Certainly, the Westmouth smooths out onto the Midland Sea terrain, indicative that this must be a dried-up delta bed. What a coin-ki-dinky. As I am composing this report, I just learned that NASA's extending Ingenuity's mission for an additional 30 days. Yay airheads! At the same time, Jeb has the opportunity to observe how the Honey Bee N reacts aerodynamically. Flights had always been run at 2/3rds of max RPM, which with the right blade pitch gives the VTOL docile altitude and speed control. I imagine at different altitudes and on different planets, I'd be looking at different RPM and deploy angle settings. But going back to aerodynamics, maybe it's not as much RPM and authority settings as it is blade airspeed and angle of attack. I'm not sure if the PAW is registering true air speed, which is speed adjusted for airmass. If it is, then it is accounting for Duna's air pressure, meaning that what I should be looking at for VTOL (and otherwise BG prop operations) isn't as much RPM per se, but the airspeed where the props will bite. Eve, for example, is so airmassed it doesn't take much RPM to bite into sufficient atmosphere and thus airspeed. The blades have all that air to gorge on. Or maybe I'm just pulling all this out of my S. Flight Simulator fanatic I've been all my life, it still doesn't mean I am a qualified aviation engineer. BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 62 Time: 3:14:31 Departing the Westmouth, entering Western Canyon One observation I could make is that as we progress along the canyon, the terrain gets steeper. It certainly confirms that the Westmouth indeed is the mouth of this once-mighty river. But the terrain here is surprisingly rough for a river even just a few kilometers in, that either this river was more rapids than river... Or maybe Duna is more geologically active than we thought... Or if you consider the terrain of the Northeast Basin up ahead, essentially one giant crater with a prominent mountain more or less at the center of it, Verfel has the theory that the NE Basin is a gigantic impact crater on what was once the lake that drained into the canyon. The impact was so dramatic as to cause a near-cataclysmic tsunami racing in all directions, including down what is now the Western Canyon, carving out its present gullies and dips, the ancient meteorite becoming the present-day mountain once the dust had settled. Hey, she's the scientist. I wouldn't know half the things she's hypothesizing. **sigh** Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to work we go. Is it also a coin-ki-dinky I am typing this out during International Worker's Day? KERBONAUTS OF THE WORLD UNITE! YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR EVA TETHERS! Wait, don't we need those? BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 62 Time: 4:40:12 ELC21, Westhead (Northeast Basin) 13° 49’ 2” N, 75° 11’ 4” W And here we are at the Northeast Basin. And this is what, tenth or eleventh Science evolution? The first time back in Chapter Eight was exciting, a proof of concept, the extraction of sweet nectar, taking the first operational flights, taking the Akita on a joyride. Now it's just routine. Boring. Tiring. God, I can't wait for all the biomes to be hit. For this circumnavigation to end. At least the terrain here's a little more interesting than down below. Departing the Westhead (being the theoretical head of the river that carved the Canyon) towards the Northeast, making for the crater 380 clicks away. Off to the left is the mountain that dominates the Basin's skyline, which we intend to give a wide berth to the north so as not have to scale its heights--holupaminute. Is that the Anomaly Scanner going "ding"? DING! (Source: Official Doctor Who Tumblr) Yes, yes it went "ding." I guess we're headed up the mountain. "Curious emissions." It's worth taking a closer look, innit? It's worth taking a closer look with the entire crew. Alright. Time to go, Navy SEALs style. Jeb and Val, take the cockpit. Everyone else, tether to the skids. So many myths have been written about this colossal feature on the Dunatian surface. So many people have swiped left as well. Too creepy. Okay, just like with the Curiosity mastcam, we're gonna lightly set down on the Face, have the team plant a flag and post for a selfie and... uh, why are we phasing through the Face? ABORT LANDING! ABORT LANDING! PULL UP BEFORE DUNA GOBBLES US UP!!! Yes, I know from other Mission Reports that it is likely the Face's collision mesh doesn't line up with the graphics. Could be a consequence of my game settings as well, which were turned down for performance's sake. Still, there is nothing so unnerving as an EVA into the Face's mouth. Or where its nose is supposed to be (eww, all that bloody snot). Also, who knows what Krakeny madness happens out of sight below the graphics mesh? Nuh-uh. The title of this Mission Report is "Faith of the Heart - Going Beyond Kerbinspace", not "Event Horizon - Do you see? DO YOU SEE?!" I'm not linking to that scene. I want to sleep at night. You guys can Google it if you want to. I wish I could unsee. BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 63 Time: 0:09:00 Departing ELC22, The Face 17° 8’ 38” N, 85° 26’ 11” W One thing I wanted to avoid getting out of the Northern Basin was coming down a mountain. Some things you can't avoid though. Much F5, so downshift physics warping. And this time Jesmy's the one taking Rachel's wheel. Even if she isn't a pilot. Which brings up another off-tangent somewhat off-topic at the back of my mind. Discussion to pass the time after marking the exit from the Northeast Basin. It's still a long way to the Crater, after all. Thinking about it, in a real-life expedition it wouldn't just be the pilots who would be the rover drivers. We know that there's always a degree of cross-training, even for astronauts selected to be mission specialists. To quote the source, "Flying [T-38s], pilot astronauts are able to maintain their flying skills and mission specialists are able to become familiar with high-performance jets." It's just like in The Martian: every crew member has to be ready to take over someone else's duties in the event someone gets accidentally left on Mars. Or someone has the flu and has to be locked in one of the centrifuge pods on recirc with HEPA filters, oh we have learned our lesson from the past year, haven't we? And obviously, this sort of cross-country, long-range round-the-world driving would be punishing on a single driver. Even two, for that matter. And something like this, I bet it wouldn't be just the driver. Just like in any cockpit crew, the guy in the other seat is doing the other stuff the pilot-flying would be too busy to handle, including situational awareness, communications, navigation, data management, and so forth. So the entire crew would be cycling into the front office. Even the scientists (realistically speaking, all this motion would make working in the lab impossible. I've had the lab running anyway because head start on crunching all that sweet sweet biome Science, and every second counts). While high-performance aircraft flying may be a skill, driving a car is a rite of passage. I am not sure if you guys are familiar with the Silent Hunter series. Starting with III, they've implemented a crew fatigue and rotation mechanic that requires the player to cycle, and plan to cycle, officers and crew between work and rest. Plus the demands of combat would concentrate more crew to some functions over others. I know there is a mod that simulates kerbal fatigue, though that tracks in between deployments (enforced R&R after return-to-Kerbin), not within deployments. I don't think anyone should have to create such a mod, or Intercept Games implement such a within-deployment crew rotation system in KSP2. This game is hard enough as it is without having to factor in personnel management. Though for the masochists... Any cross-country or long-haul driver will tell you that attention span and concentration is a critical resource on these long drives. Fall asleep behind the wheel is the obvious no-no. I've been there before, and it was not pretty. All the road autopilot technologies are still primarily at the driver-assist stage, with no one quite ready to entrust it to the prime time just yet, even considering what Alphabet (Google) and Tesla are saying. And on another planet, on an off-roader's idea of heaven, there's a reason why Ingenuity can be useful for future missions. Why all rover preprogrammed navigations and traversals have to be carefully considered. It wouldn't do for a rover to get wedged in a crevice, stuck in the regolith, or heaven forbid on its back. Moral of the story, take care of your people, period. I know this isn't the game whose mechanics generally encourage that, and we do enjoy a little dark comedy here a lot. But at heart I'm a kerbitarian. Under the same principle, I am an XCOMtarian (both then and now), which explains why I never play above the easiest difficulty level. I'm not one for a casualty rate. Oh look, the northern snows are on the horizon, and there's a snow-covered rock even here in all the non-snow. Okay I take back my previous statement about the Southern Basin. BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 63 Time: 4:07:55 ELC28, The Foot 44° 55’ 36” N, 143° 51’ 43” W And having reached here, with all its snow, the crew can say that they have hit both Dunatian snowcaps. That is more or less ninety degrees of latitude traversal, 45 on either side of the equator. More importantly, this is the next to the last biome to sample. I can finally look forward to the end of the entire ordeal of unpacking, launching, recovering, repacking. I don't care how much Jeb whines about not getting enough flight hours. Every pilot in every air force has the same problem, Jeb. You're lucky you get to fly on Duna at all. The place is called "The Foot" because, much like the crater outlines of the southern Polar Crater gave the impression of a tongue, for this crater it looked more like a bare foot stomping its mark in the snow. Sure, it had to contend with another crater alongside it, but if you squint your eyes and tilt your head to the left, it does look like a footprint in the snow. And I forgot to take a picture of it, so we're left with our imaginations, because Valentina's not going to turn this car around just because Bob forgot to bring out the camera for the Instagram. Another God-knows-how-much-longer-this-will-take is not worth the Insta-fame. Enough squinting, enough imagining, and certainly enough Instagram. Moving on. The thing about The Foot though is that those same crater outlines made for some foreboding slopes to climb at physics warp. I counted more than fifteen F9 reverts from the checkpoint before I gave up and made the run on good old-fashioned 1x speed. Even then, with a terrain so corrugated average speeds dropped to 90kph (25m/s) or lower just so that each jump didn't result to a heart attack on landing. And we ended up giving the direct route to the Eastern Canyon a wide berth eastwards to avoid the crater wall entirely. Sure, the Baserunner could take the slope head-on. Sure, if I wanted to babysit every meter of the run at 1x speed until she crested the wall. Over one hundred kilometers later... BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 64 Time: 0:25:02 ELC32, E. Canyon NE Entry 30° 14’ 27” N, 176° 36’ 1” W Finally. Finafrickingly. Eastern Canyon biome sampled. That's ALL the biomes sampled. I don't have to do this thing ever, ever again! Except I might have forgotten one or two experiments at a couple of biomes, but those can wait for later. Once everyone's back down, locked, tethered, and parked, no more Science evolutions. From that point on, it's all driving until the finish line. First up: travelling down the length of the Eastern Canyon, to the SW entrance. That will also have the effect of taking Rachel down to the equator, to the latitude where this all began, a very convenient exit, after which we punch the throttles and race to daylight. The Eastern Canyon is topographically curiouser than the Western Canyon, though. The latter had all the impressions of being carved out by a river. But this one? Its lowest point is somewhere off the middle of the canyon length, the mouths at either end at higher elevation. It really didn't look like this was a river that drained from one end to the other. S|B|innala. The Eastern Canyon also hosts the lowest elevation We've reached so far in this journey, somewhere above 300m. Given that the Midland Sea was on average 600m in this journey, this places this portion of the Canyon at the same level as a seabed, if not a sea trench. No one can make heads or tails of this terrain. BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 64 Time: 2:28:57 ELC34, E. Canyon SW Entry 2° 10’ 40” N, 151° 11’ 44” E And the southwestern end of the Canyon opens up to the Highlands. The fricking Highlands. We were expecting to punch the throttles after this! Forget that! We can't even risk 3x warp around here. Kapisi Field is nearly 400km away. And we have to cross a [uncivilized language] mountain range to get there. A [again, uncivilized language] mountain range!!! Right after the lowest point so far on Duna!!! Fine, Speeding Mullet's Von Brauncano (which I consulted prior to making this run, and which also traversed the Eastern Canyon) called this area "particularly bumpy ground", so between him and the SCANSat slope maps we should have known what to expect (though I would describe it less as "particularly bumpy", and more "Dammit Google Maps, did you just lead us to the fricking Caucasus?") But again, he has a Mk1 lander can-based rover that can afford to go WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE up and down these crags. This is NOT terrain suited for a sixty-ton mobile base. Even if it is a nuclear-powered Baserunner. Even if there are moments where even a sixty-ton nuclear-powered Baserunner could go WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Okay, maybe a tiny WEEE. You know the place we marked as Denver Plains because the foothills at the horizon gave the impression of the Rockies? I spoke too soon, and we are sorely mistaken. No, these two lines of mountains between us and Kapisi Field, sandwiching a strip of Midlands between them, these are the Rocky Mountain Range of Duna. The Continental Divide, if you will. The biome map suggests that these mighty peaks stretch practically from pole to pole (connecting with the Polar Highlands on both ends), its shadow casting caution and dread on any traveler crossing from west to east, or from east to west, its cliffs and slopes offering little level ground for weary travelers to set stakes and F5. Set stakes and F5, Valentina. Accounting for procedural terrain differences, Mullet had the perfect rover for these Pike's Peaks, along the same philosophy as the ESME, only lighter, tighter, flippier, with greater Reaction Wheel-to-Mass Ratio (RWMR) to arrest the momentum of any turnover and for greater control authority. And he was pulling speeds of up to 70 or even 80m/s in friendlier terrain, speeds which on the same terrain would have been catastrophic for the Baserunner. Speaking of catastrophic for the Baserunner, and invoking a little Mullet moment of my own... WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! Thank God even under full compression the Baserunner doesn't pancake the reactor bay onto the ground. That was always the weak link of this design. I do have standards: I wasn't about to place the S.A.F.E.R. in the habitation locker even if it was in an enclosure, not on the top deck for the same reasons, AND because it had to be reachable for EVA installation into the compartment. Below the command deck was the only place left, given all that mass beneath the habitable section, and being enclosed by the drivetrain, so that (roleplaying this a bit) even if the compartment goes pop, and the S.A.F.E.R.'s own reactor walls breaches, there's at least some containment of the debris and leakages. But that means being on the lookout for terrain contact risks. Hey, I saw the ending of For All Mankind Season 2. And Chernobyl. Besides, if the Baserunner manages to land hard enough to break the wheels so hard the belly flops, it's also hard enough to total the Baserunner. Way beyond "not great, not terrible" territory here. I've never really imagined what it would look like for the long-term topographical consequences of a meteor hitting a mountain range. I've read somewhere of how the Soviet Union had a warhead specifically tuned to turn Cheyenne Mountain into Cheyenne Crater. I've tried repeatedly dropping meteors onto the admittedly less dramatic heights of Cities Skylines maps to make molehills out of mountains (and reenacting the prologue to Ace Combat 04). But looking at this sight, we can't help but imagine this would have made a nice Alpine lake in a more hospitable climate. Pine trees, snow-capped peaks, or whatever the heck their Dunatian equivalents are. Nice place to set up a vacation cabin, fish, swim, maybe hike the heights up to the snowline. Damn this pandemic is giving me cabin fever. More practically, and in the immediate future, the friendlier crater floor would make a nice place to set up an F5 checkpoint. And we have to cut across the southern rim anyway to straight-line it to Kapisi Field. LOC: Lat. -2.62°, Lon. 116.06° (SCANSat data) Aaaaand of course Rachel's wheels break again. Admittedly she could not have picked a better place to do so. Okay Bill, time to break out the tire irons again... BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 64 Time: 5:50:45 ELC40, Zone 7ZQ-QZ 2° 16’ 26” S, 97° 52’ 19” E This is it. This. Is. It, [female dogs]. One hundred kilometers from target. This is a magical checkpoint. This is a moment of relief. Just like it was in ESME's Munar Elcano run, the end literally is in sight. I could target it, literally. I could taste it, figuratively. Oh no, wait, I am tasting grit and pebble right now, figuratively and literally. And from here, nothing but Lowlands and the Midland Sea. Practically all downhill. This is what we came for. This is where it all ends. This is where we can Finally. (3x Warp) PUNCH. (maximum wheel throttle)IT! Thirty F9s later... (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ (╯°□°)╯︵ (\ .o.)\ ┻━┻ ︵ヽ(`□´)ノ︵ ┻━┻ One admittedly merciful run later... Almost there... just one more safety checkpoint, at the 50km mark, just in case: BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 65 Time: 0:15:42 ELC41, The Penultimate Checkpoint, 50.2km from ELC00 1° 38’ 42” S, 88° 59’ 36” E LOC: 4.8km from ELC00 Ike rise. Ike RISE. The eternal guardian standing watch over Kapisi Field, over where, nine Kerbin days and nearly one real-world month ago, Rachel S'Jet first touched the deserts of Duna. And at the same time, an equally good omen rising from the horizon as well: that dot over Ike, Aerith Gainsborough is passing over us in her parking orbit. (Just to be sure, (a) the image is 1024 x 576, and (b) Aerith is conveniently highlighted in the picture. Because Mama didn't raise no liar. And because DOE. She also didn't raise no reckless off-road racer, but here we are.) And the Kerbin system is also visible in Ike's direction, as earlier observations have confirmed (and the picture will show later). I'm not a superstitious fellow, but this is one feels-good-man way to end an Elcano, all these things coming together at the same time. You hear me, RNGsus? THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO HIT US WITH A "THAT'S XCOM, BABY!" MOMENT. THIS IS NOT AN INVITATION TO JINX THE MOMENT. I don't want to have to do this again. Hit the brakes, shove Rachel through a powerslide, dramatic music, Russian choir, triumphant beats, you know, something like the April 2021 trailer to the Black Widow movie, in fact, yeah, THAT exact backing track to this gif. And the Desserts of Duna I Elcano circumnavigation IS. SO. KRAKENDAMNED. DONE. I HAVE BESTED FRUIT, SPIKE, AND MUN DUNA! HA! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! -- Dude, you're supposed to return to the flag in order to complete the Elcano. You skidded past it. It don't count yet. ... ... ... I hate you. I so freaking hate you right now, Rules of the Elcano Circumnavigation Challenge. And I hope never to have to observe your provisions ever again. Hep-hep, nope, talk to the hand, Rules. I'm busy driving back specifically to park on ELC00, where Rachel first landed on Duna and where the flag is, even if they're just one hundred fifty meters away, because you said so. And when I'm done, I am taking a Not-A-Flamethrower to your waste disposal port, and you're going to LIKE the deep colonic cleansing effect. You will LIKE how the flame has a combined blockage-clearing and disinfecting effect on Uranus. Oh the Spice will FLOW when I am done with you, Rules. The Spice will FLOW so freely, you will fertilize the entire Wheat Belt from your S! BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 65 Time: 0:52:10 ELC42 (ELC00), Back to the Beginning 0° 3’ 35” N, 80° 11’ 23” E Like I said. There is something feels-good-man about a triumphant flag-planting ceremony, backdropped by the Rachel S'jet, Ike, and Kerbin. Not even how irritating enduring this circumnavigation since I started it almost a month ago is, or how worn down the F5 and F9 keys are, or how loose the Right Trigger is on my Xinput-based gamepad is, can take away from the satisfaction of crossing this mission objective off the list. And lorewise? Such an epic trip, not just merely for the trip but also functional from a mission perspective (not counting all those F9s, someone needs to make a mod to count those just for the lulz), serves to validate the Baserunner system. Granted, so far I can't foresee where else a mobile base of this caliber would prove useful, aside from Tylo and maybe Dres and Eeloo--outside of Kerbinspace, Jool's other moons, Moho, and Gilly are too small to justify the need, Eve's gravity would take the wheels to the breaking point when she's fully laden, and Laythe needs something else entirely. But hey, <<mobile base.>> It also invites derivative designs, like a significant upgrade to the Mobile Construction Vehicle that was used to construct the Stirling Munbase. A SIGNIFICANT upgrade, with a capital SIGNIFICANT, including twice the working engineers, OSE Workshop capabilities with parts up to 11,000L in size, and internal MaterialKits ISRU production and tankage. Sure, I still have to see if the Program needs this MCV's MCV in its future plans (and how the hell to launch and land this thing under a variety of conditions), and she isn't commissioned yet (and again, that decision still has to be made down the line), but it is nice to know it is there when it needs it. And it is still over a year and several months before the minimum-energy return window opens up, and with 412 experiments and samples still left to process, the field's wide open for the DoD-I team of Jeb, Val, Bob, Bill, Ver, and Jes. Revisit locations and anomalies not scouted yet? Travel to the infamous poles and particularly the Pole pyramid? Survey more settlement ground? Settle down and chew through all that data? Head back into orbit and collect Dunaspace data, drop by Ike for some flags, footprints, and samples? Heck, call it a day and head back home now (or at least earlier)? There are more or less 10,000m/s ΔV in Aerith's tanks. There's minimum five years' uranium in Rachel's reactor. There is an orbital greenhouse in the Mobile Hangar; a terrestrial one in Rachel's machinery spaces. There is MechJeb and Bon Voyage. If there are any limits physical, logistical, or procedural to this expedition, they are as tiny as Duna blueberries (okay, maybe the Dunes. Not gonna jinx this). That's the entire point of this expedition architecture: presence, influence, options. Especially the options. But that all comes later. I have a rest-of-the-program to deal with, after all. And everything else can wait. For now, the weary crew break out the lounge chairs on the roof deck, and at the end of a long day, a long road trip, lollygag and chillax amongst themselves while I compose this Mission Report. They sure have earned every second of it. How does one chillax in EVA suits, anyhow? (Please don't answer that question. Knowing Bill, he'll take off his helmet in the process.) (Source: Mission Accomplished text from Ace Combat 2, as is the soundtrack) Mission Debriefing:
  11. Chapter Nine, Sol 2 - The Elcano (how do you kill that which has no life?) You can even hear the roosters in this pic. Well, if there was enough oxygen for a rooster to survive on Duna anyway. Alright, witches. Up and atom. At them. Whatever. You can either burn daylight, or burn rubber. Leevy Kerman: "But isn't the Rachel actually burning uranium?" B-STRK: "LEEVY KERMAN! WHAT THE [stop drinking too much coffee in the morning, you're straining your heart] ARE YOU DOING HERE? WEREN'T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE TRAPPED IN MY 1.4.x SAVE?!" Leevy Kerman: "Well, if you're going to give me Pinkie Pie's personality, you have to learn to accept all the Pinkie Pie consequences." **slasher smile** B-STRK: "OUT. And take that knife with you." Leevy Kerman: "You mean this cupcake spatula--" B-STRK: "OUT!!!" BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 58 Time: 5:04:34 ELC07, Wehrtop's Ground 19° 22’ 20” N, 10° 33’ 5” E Oh God. I had to play on April 1st. I had to play on April 1st and have all the Waypoint Manager flag options change on me into Nyans, when I hadn't memorized where the KSP flag marker was located. I know the consensus usually is that this is cute. That. Cute, but annoying. I was half-expecting RPM to change all MFD displays to non-stop Nyan cats. It was April 1st. I was half-expecting Boeing to announce they had acquired Private Division and Intercept Games. Belated April Fools! Anyway. Once the Science gets done, it's decided to hit the southern polar biome. And the small map would tell me, "But B-STRK, isn't the northern polar biome closer to where you are than the southern?" Yeah, that's true, but the small map's also saying that up north, there isn't the desired diversity of biomes that would allow me to hit all of them in one relatively westward-going run. I'd be looking at backtracking and retracing and otherwise adding even more kilometers to an already stretched-out Elcano. Go south, however, and with the extra distance comes the chance to hit one or two of the generic biomes if I hadn't hit them yet, the three polar biomes (Poles, Polar Craters, Polar Highlands), AND a detected anomaly. The trip south would also carry me to the right latitude to hit the Southern Basin afterwards as well. South it is. Hey, birds fly south for the winter, do they not? (Source: Duna Restoration Project Mod) When Brotoro did his seminal Duna circumnavigation in 0.19, besides testing out the then-new rover wheels he also made observations of what was then the old Duna geography. Since then Duna got an art pass, and many in the kommunity observed that: Really, I'm quoting the wiki here. So reading up on Brotoro's observations which were pre-0.21, and comparing them and his pics to what I was seeing confirms the same criticism. Not only that, not only are these procedural lumps deadly boring, they can be deadly, period. Once you hit the highlands they become downright treacherous. Even at the Midlands they could prove troublesome. I've had to downshift from 4x/3x warp to 2x warp to keep Rachel controllable coming down from a jump. Kraken damn these Midlands. Kraken REALLY damn these Highlands. Some of these old-timers would tell you and I that we've been robbed. At this stage of the journey, I was just feeling seasick from the terrain, so the only thing robbed from me so far was ride comfort. Old Duna had these large flat areas that were just right for ground bases, and you could see them from orbit. katateochi's Constellation analogue benefited from this. With Procedural Duna... Is there a way to make a mod that highlights what is flat ground on the flight scene, like some sort of augmented reality vision thing? Would make this entire base site survey thing easier. BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 59 Time: 2:14:01 ELC10, Mison's Cranny 17° 27’ 22” S, 14° 23’ 45” W Sometimes, you get lucky, though, and you can find a suitable flat and level ground in the middle of all this samey treacherous troublesome procedural lumpiness. Granted, the landscape isn't much to look at, but that's why we have a mobile home, for when the neighborhood gets too vanilla. And when the neighborhood gets too vanilla, too white bread, wander starts lusting. Wander starts lusting so hard. Wander lust you long time. "We're Kara and Nate. After four years travelling the world and documenting our journey to one hundred countries, 2020 brought us back to the US, where we bought a converted sprinter van to explore all fifty states." Well, now you know how I filled out the boredom of immobile lockdown. And I'm not kidding. I've gotten an addiction to travel lifestyle and nomadic lifestyle YouTube content creators to get over not being able to travel given the pandemic. Land and sea and air alike, planes trains and automobiles, the whole nine meters. Started even looking at videos selling RVs and sailboats and yachts and bizjets after all the sailing channels and van life and jetlife channels., as though my career actually paid the big bucks when it doesn't. Don't look at me. I said I'm a lawyer. I didn't say I was a law firm partner, nor am I likely ever to be one. Elcano, a career in law, why do I torture myself like this? How do you kill that which has no life? But what really gets my attention in these channels isn't just the travels they do, but what they travel in. Getting up close and personal with the layouts and amenities of the sail boats and recreational vehicles and converted sprinter vans, of the sleeper cabins and first class seats and dining cars and cruise ship cabins. Of living in and travelling on and a life through such conveyances. And if I insisted on making this Baserunner an IVA-functional replica as opposed to merely an externally-aesthetic one, insisting on installing actually-modeled IVA sleeping cabins with a plausible connection to the rest of the inhabitable spaces, etc. instead of plugging in a Hitchhiker and calling it a sleeper cabin, blame these channels. Admittedly, the kitbashing of OPT and KPBS and KF and Akita and Airplane Plus and Wild Blue and other stuff gives this Baserunner less of the "precision NASA instrument" vibe, and more of a "converted sprinter van" aura. If a sprinter van was over forty tons empty and literally had two summer camp huts, a laboratory, the front office of a Danube-class runabout and the rear end of a Type 056 corvette, the Houston petroleum industry and six monster truck wheels crammed into it. And it still wouldn't be out of place in our modern consumer world. I mean, THIS thing exists. Something on the Baserunner scale would actually be more sensible compared to that. Oh hey, look. We're closing in on the anomaly. Time to bring out the local map to fine tune the Waypoint atop it. BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 59 Time: 3:43:33 ELC11, Site 00V7 (Anomaly) 30° 18’ 5” S, 28° 49’ 6” W Speaking of precision NASA instruments. Hi JPL? I think you misplaced a very expensive robot somewhere. Do I get a finder's fee for this? One nice thing about having a scout chopper is that you can do some scout choppery things. Like fly a team up close and personal to inspect the weird metal thing sticking out of some rock. I mean, REALLY up close and personal. The Honey Bee N was perched half on its skids, SAS hold being the only thing keeping it from tipping backwards, admittedly. Yeah, I know. I need a spell checker every once in a while. Can you mod one in? This crater gives the impression of being like a tongue of depressed land sticking into the polar terrain. Like it was trying to lick up some powdered sugar. So, the cartographers hereby dub this location The Tongue. Also, this is a PG-13 mission report, so that is powdered sugar. Confectionaries' sugar. All natural. Nope, no Al Pacino characters here introducing you to his diminutive associate. BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 59 Time: 5:13:02 ELC12, The Tongue 43° 4’ 40” S, 40° 4’ 9” W Okay, while the prospect of driving (and playing) in snow would be exciting in an actual, real-life Duna/Mars expedition, in-game it's simply just ground painted white for all intents and purposes, which carries its own ennui roleplaying sometimes can't overcome. So while Jesmy and Bob drive donuts onto the Polar Crater snows, and Bill makes snow angels beneath the VH-07s's propwash, I'll discuss another inspiration for the Baserunner. Especially considering all this southern snow. You guys would likely know of the Antarctic Snow Cruiser, right? Essentially, it's the Byrd Expedition's version of the Baserunner: a mobile expedition base. Maybe not to the same scale as this Baserunner, let alone the Hardware/Homeworld Baserunners, but in terms of the mission statement and minimum functionalities they are the same. It even carried a biplane for the same aerial scouting mission requirement. Sadly no minirover. Model of the Antarctic Snow Cruiser, together with its designer (Source: AP via The Atlantic) The Snow Cruiser represented American technical know-how, American ingenuity, and the American can-do spirit. It (unfortunately and unintentionally) also represented the occasional American hubris, and the American sometime-tendency to underestimate challenges, for those who know the Snow Cruiser's sordid conclusion: its tires finding no purchase on the snow, capable of mobility only in a crawling reverse (albeit for 148 kilometers/92 miles, points for persistence), too underpowered for the terrain ahead, eventually left as a static habitation and command post (at which it did well enough), abandoned at the outbreak of Global Political Disassembly Dos, buried beneath the snow, and now lost, likely to the Antarctic ocean depths. This magnificent if ill-timed creature, I would add, deserved a better end, even considering the failure of the concept, and certainly deserves more than Press F to Pay Respects. BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 60 Time: 1:28:27 ELC14, Zone 4-31 (Polar Highlands) 45° 54’ 17” S, 61° 32’ 19” W To be fair, Howard Stark's lament would also apply to the Snow Cruiser: "limited by the technology of its time." One World War later, Stalinium bias pls nerf would produce the Karkovchanka, a Soviet-era equivalent that, while it did not carry all the ambitions of her American predecessor like aviation capability, would benefit from a Russian insistence on rough-terrain ruggedness and developments from their heavy equipment, tank, and aviation industries, plus experience with a predecessor model, with better results. Not that she didn't have her fair share of troubles, though, but successful enough to see successor models built, and to cement her place in Antarctic exploration history. And she has her better memorialization, too, one of the first generation now preserved as a monument in the one of the Russian Antarctic stations (LOC: 69°22′41,0″ S, 76°22′59,1″ E). And if the technology of Byrd's time did work, it is quite possible that people would have been calling the Kharkohchanka the Snow Cruiserski instead. One does not necessarily use KSP to prove concept vehicles (apart from Scott Manley using it to mock up the Mars Cycler in Stowaway...), but u/johnkeale on Reddit managed to make a functional replica, right up to the integrated biplane. Youtuber KidJP did the Kharkovchanka stock + DLC on Eeloo, complete with instruments. So yes, this mobile base system works, especially (a) in real life, once you work out the bugs, (b) in-game, if running with a life support or habitation-simulation (as in punishing you for punishing quarters) mod, and (c) with Bon Voyage to skip over the long drive parts. You know, those parts I can't avoid because Elcano. And yes, given MMSEV and the Toyota/JAXA Moon Rover, there is a foreseeable utility to a Martian Snow Cruiser. Even right up to making it a mobile aircraft carrier. (Source: NASA JPL) Hell, Percy had Ginny along for the mission, and they're turning out happy as clams on Mars indeed. See, south proved profitable. A short distance from the Polar Highlands biome lies the Southern Basin, and from there, it's a quick jaunt to a nearby Highlands biome. That makes... yeah, five biomes since the Curiosity eye stalk, which was not even that long ago. Also, I'm not sure, but it seems the Southern Basin is the only biome to have more than one climatological landscape... biome diversity... topographic variance--look, I had to find a way to say that in the Southern Basin, there's snow, and there's non-snow. Haven't seen that in other biomes. Then again, haven't seen anything other than snow and non-snow on Duna, anyhow. BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 60 Time: 3:15:46 ELC16, Henner's Solitude 45° 11’ 28” S, 66° 12’ 57” W Here we all are at the end of our southern run, after a biome Science collection at the Highlands. More or less halfway around the world, and only four biomes left to sample. Except those four biomes are all the discrete locations--Western Canyon, Northeast Basin, one of the Craters, and Eastern Canyon--and all are widely spaced apart. Which means cross-country trips all the way. We're expecting this would have the effect of making the traverse faster--only have to stop for 50km checkpoints (and occasional 25km Low Courage Checkpoints), and not for thirty-minute Science gathering evolutions, apart from the four biomes. And I am not expecting the terrain to be smooth either. But the Canyons especially should prove interesting--instead of simply cutting across them (like for example the Midland Canyon), we're gonna take the time to trace their routes. They're even nicely aligned to smoothly transition to the following waypoint. It does mean having to travel slightly eastwards getting to the southern end of the Western Canyon though, but nothing too backtracking about it, maybe just a couple degrees of longitude. Oh, these Highlands. Verfel and Bob must be complaining about all that bouncing around getting in the way of their researching in the lab. Making the Mystery Goo samples puke from motion sickness. Protip: don't do your homework on the way to school if you have a weak vestibular system, and the road to there is hilly and twisty. You will likely be submitting breakfast instead. Oh, Val (and by extension I) just noticed this now. The OPT RPM cockpits come with a "Tumble" warning alarm. How convenient for IVA driving purposes. We've been running over certain pebbles so many times in our journey (and yes, they do have an impact on the Baserunner at 3x physics warp, luckily minor) that may we can take the time to scan them. ELC17 - Zone 3G2NK 37° 9’ 21” S, 62° 13’ 21” W They're called blueberries? Jeb had the impression they were more like horseapples. That lasted until Val slapped him down for being rude. Oh God, this was something we were hoping to avoid. Again with the sunset, and this time, we're driving on the wrong side of the mountain. Sure, the picture shows that we can see the terrain ahead decently enough. The thing about a picture saying a thousand words though is that you usually have the time to digest all those words. Driving in the dark, the last thing one has is time to digest. Trust me on this. Driving cross-country in the Munar night was an attention-drain. BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 60 Time: 4:42:53 ELC18, Area JR-3X 20° 27’ 23” S, 60° 0’ 35” W And so sunset of Sol 2 finds us under 100km from the Western Canyon, and with a surprisingly picturesque sunset for the crew to kick back and behold. Los Angeles. San Francisco. San Diego. Seattle. Vancouver. The Baja. Name any west coast settlement or location of note all over the world, good chances are you'd have a sunset postcard to Instagram. Sure, east coasts get the sunrise. That can be wistful as well, but more often than not, it just means "A new day has begun. Someone please sedate me until the sunset." But moonrises to the east can also be a thing too. Although on Duna, Ike's orbit is synchronous so that's like a more or less permanent Ikerise scene at this longitude. Although at this time of year, you get the bonus of seeing Kerbin as well if you've installed DOE if you know where to look. Below and to the right of Ike.
  12. Pulled a space station to pieces after undocking in 0.23.5. As in the classic vibrate > oscillate > disintegrate. When the Kraken still infested the rubber rover wheels, it would do funny, funny things to any Kerbal on EVA and touching them. I believe I even made the mistake of accidentally replicating a Danny2462 Klaw-based doomsday device when that was still unpatched, which had to explain why things went... wonky while I was doing Klaw-related stuff in orbit. And on occasion, even up to now, if I switch to a vessel after a KAC alarm for an SoI change, it's like something's pushing it back from the SoI transition.
  13. Chapter Nine, Sol 1 - The Elcano (Here We Go Again) No no no no no... what am I thinking? Another six-shooter rover, on an exokerbin planetary body. No. Not again. Please. Six years ago, when the 1.0.x series was new, and life felt slower, less pandemicky, and less lawsuity, and I found myself with some time to spare in my Apollo 1.0 challenge, I took a MOLAB-equivalent and sent it around the Mun on six wheels for an Elcano badge alongside the Apollo one. It was fun. It was an eye-opener. It taught me the value of alertness behind the wheel on high physics-warp, the dangers of complacency, of learning to appreciate the journey while at the same time cursing the monotony, engineering the vehicles both mission and delivery, reading and navigating the terrain safely, and so on, and so on, and so on... am I actually being wistful about that Munar Elcano? Why the [naughty, naughty language] hell am I contemplating a Duna Elcano now? Look, I specifically added a Bon Voyage autopilot unit so that I don't have to do these things. I even went and tested it in a separate quicksave to make sure it would work (and not spawn the Baserunner inside a mountain, for example, no, we reserve that for one of the three Brass Balls of Sajuuk). It works. I don't have to drive all the way just to sample biomes. The battle plan is to just BVAP Rachel to each waypoint, find the nearest flat spot, do Chapter Eight again, rinse and repeat for all biomes. The entire point of the Minimum Workload philosophy. That's what Artemis I did on the Mun. I don't have to drive to the fricking biomes myself. No battle plan survives contact with Duna--NO. Don't do it, B-STRK. Don't read up on the various Elcano challenge threads. Don't look up Speeding Mullet's zippy little Duna Elcano adventure squeezed into a Dunaprojekt run. Nope, not Brotoro's foundational experimentation with the first rover parts to hit KSP either. Stop looking at Duna in map view. Stop calculating that path to hit all biomes in one run. Nope, B-STRK, those waypoints are for BV navigation only. Stop looking at the distance to each waypoint. NO. YOU DON'T HAVE THE TIME. YOU DON'T HAVE THE PATIENCE. YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THIS. ... ... ... **Effing long-suffering sigh** BRN Rachel S'jet --- Year: 2 Day: 56 Time: 0:18:44 MISSION START --- ELC00, Kapisi Field 0° 3’ 35” N, 80° 11’ 23” E And so we begin another time-sink lunacy that I don't even have to do, except I went and announced it in the What did you do in KSP today thread so I'm now stuck with it. Koddammit, I can't keep my mouth shut, can't I? Waypoint-wise, technically I've started even before the log time listed. Technically speaking, per the Elcano rules I started the moment Jesme planted the flag in Chapter Seven. Which was one Chapter Seven and one Chapter Eight ago. But enough burning daylight, time to burn rubber. Some ground rules to consider in this run, though. Once upon a time, back when most of us had to suffer the number-of-mod limits of 32-bit Unity. No way Rachel could ever work back in 1.0.4. Or was it 1.0.2? The 1.0.x-era ESME was based on a Mk2 fuselage, about thirteen tons. That was also on Munar gravity, about 1/6th of Kerbin's, and with an equatorial circumference of 1,256,637 m. And she had enough reaction wheel authority to get her back on her wheels if she ever, somehow, safely landed on her back (which happened on quite a few occasions. Not that there had been no disassembly-to-F9 in other instances). The entire design in fact was built around surviving landing on her back, and getting back on her feet. Rachel's a whole different girl-to-the-dance. At start she was about 70 tons after refueling Trigger from her internal stores, later a little over 60 after reconfiguring the hull tanks. The only reaction wheels of note are in the spaceplane cockpit, the VH-07 and Akita being inconsequential against such mass (and there is a reason why the OPT spaceplane parts also include dummy thicc elevons and augmented RCS jets). And this was on a planet with almost twice the equatorial circumference, almost twice the Mun's gravity, which I have never, ever significantly explored or driven over before so we don't know the terrain ahead, so it was almost twice the workload. Under those conditions--and not to mention the antennas, lab, and the VTOL helipad and VTOL itself being on the Baserunner's roof deck, there is no such thing as "safely" landing Rachel on her back. There is no such thing as a survivable flipping incident. There is no such thing as ESME 2.0 on Duna. Something goes wrong... well, Commander Melissa Lewis said it best, so if I may paraphrase her with an appropriate F5/F9 montage: <<Before you answer, consider the consequences. If we mess up landing on our feet after any airtime, we die.>> <<If we mess up balanced driving while under 3x or 4x, or even 2x physics warp, we die.>> <<If we mess up situational awareness and hit a non-scatter Breaking Ground surface feature while at high speed or physics warp, we die.>> (Source: JohnMaley43 via Cheezburger) <<If we mess up situational awareness and drive over a non-scatter feature high enough to hit the S.A.F.E.R. reactor compartment... well, it's not an instant kill, but we're not getting anywhere without that reactor. Or make Snacks!, for that matter. Speaking of which, if we don't abort to orbit after running out of Snacks!, we die bleed Rep. A lot of Rep.>> (Source) <<If we do everything perfectly, we add God knows how many more Kerbal and real world days to our mission. God knows how many Kerbal and real world days before B-STRK can move on with the rest of his savegame again. Something might break that no amount of F5s or editing the persistence file can fix. If it's mission critical, we die.>> Jebediah: "Sign me up." SHUT UP JEB. Point is, F5 early, F5 often. And make a separate save for good measure. And considering the warnings of original challenge moderator and circumnavigator Fengist: ... quicksaving while under motion could lead to unintended structural consequences I wanted to avoid with ESME, and I want to avoid with Rachel, and dear God that means stopping to save--more drag to the average speed. MORE TIME TO TAKE. **SIGH.** Yeah, other painful comparisons. Both Sunshooter-Elcano and Desserts of Duna-Elcano share the same mission profile (of wide-ranging survey through the circumnavigation), and thus strategic navigation plan. Except that all ESME had to worry about was three or four (or five?) base location survey sites, and anomalies on the way, that probably never exceeded fifteen to twenty degrees of latitude either side of the equator. Rachel on the other hand had fourteen (now thirteen) distinct biomes to hit. Apart from the "generic" biomes (e.g., Lowlands, Poles, etc.), there were also the discrete, location-based biomes like Polar Craters or the Canyons. The idea was to hit them all in the same westward run (hopefully without having to backtrack across longitudes), so the crew could extract all that juicy, juicy Science. Especially considering the polar biomes, that means traversing 45 degrees of latitude from the equator to reach the snows. That meant unavoidable and extensive detours from the crow-flies path. A larger planet, as well as more latitudes to cross, AND multiple Science pit stops along the way, meant a severely longer Elcano than the Mun. With a mobile base. And a box of scraps. **SIGH.** But hey. Not because it is easy, but because Cold War politics etc. BRN Rachel S'jet --- Year: 2 Day: 56 Time: 0:50:42 ELC01, Zone 5B-W1Q 6° 22’ 59” N, 57° 57’ 35” E While this is an Elcano, it was also a Science expedition. Granted, I don't know how many Breaking Ground surface features had been added to Duna without having to bring out the wiki, but it's worth hitting the brakes to give the scanning arm some time to stretch out. Again. Especially when driving under any physics warp, any airtime is also insurance premium escalation time. Sure, the physics acceleration sucks the Baserunner to the ground, but I think it accelerates the suspension performance of Kerbal Foundries wheels as well. That makes sixty to seventy tons quite jumpy on the rebound, and again, if not careful, the revolutions-per-minute will refer to how many revolutions the Baserunner takes cartwheeling into the ground. Still though, I can't resist the temptation of taking a cool hang time shot with Ike, Kerbin (pale blue dot below Ike), and the orbiting Aerith (black dot left of Ike) in the background. Yeah, maybe 800 x 600 resolutions aren't good for that sort of detail. S|B|innala Yeah, yeah, KF wheels plus an all-in-one WBI nuclear reactor means the Baserunner takes mountains like a goat, but what is getting my goat is why isn't the BTDT scanner recording my ground track? It did that back in Sunshooter. Yeah, I'm gonna have to drop custom Waypoint markers to record my track--the original plan was to use it to mark sites of interest like flat ground or anomalies. But hey, it's something to do every 50 kilometers I stop to quicksave. Still, it bothers me that we're not getting a BTDT track on the small map. Okay, start fiddling with the controls, click a label or two, and... oh hey! Now I know why. I had the map displaying the day/night terminator, which mode would not accommodate BTDT tracking. And I also figured how to switch the map over to biome, more useful for navigation purposes. I am as pleased as punch--holupaminute. Who's driving the Baserunner while all this was going on? And what was the Vne (velocity, never exceed) again? (the answer is 43m/s) BRN Rachel S'jet --- Year: 2 Day: 56 Time: 2:27:10 ELC03, Dinklestein's Curiosity 21° 54’ 41” N, 52° 22’ 19” E Well. That's what I get for not paying attention. Back in the 1.0.x days, the Kerbal Foundries wheels did not include damage modeling, which admittedly made them quite OP for Elcano runs--go as fast as you want, as hard as you want. ESME and Samene, Marliana, and Leevy certainly didn't mind. Well, times changed, and probably for the better. Even if realistically speaking, changing THESE wheels would be impossible for a Kerbal to do alone. And now with discrete repair kits in 1.11.x, could one kit really account for one entire monster truck wheel, for balance purposes? (Of course I'm at 1.9.x, and I can live with the lack of repair kits.) Visually, maybe these wheels could display more damage modeling than simply snapping the suspension, though. On the other hand, if it's gonna look like the tire had popped, how the hell do we justify where we keep the spare tires? Then again, how the hell do we justify pneumatic monster truck or mining site mega dumptruck wheels on Mars? I'm overthinking this. BRN Rachel S'jet --- Year: 2 Day: 56 Time: 2:43:24 LOC: 16.1km from ELC03 One silver lining from breaking the wheels. A short distance away (about 16 km) was another opportunity for biome Science. So, another checkpoint, another Chapter Eight Science evolution. Oh, the Lowlands. Good, I can check that generic biome out of the way. Back on the road. LOC: Denver Plains 32° 7’ 11” N, 33° 4’ 24” E I just couldn't help but think that (a) this was a nice, relatively level plot of land to set up a settlement in, and (b) with that ridge towards the northwest, it kinda gives me the feels of seeing the Rockies from Denver--if I ever had the personal feel of seeing the Rockies form Denver. Okay, the Rockies are WAY bigger than this ridgeline, but I got the feels, I name the site. BRN Rachel S'Jet --- Year: 2 Day: 57 Time: 0:19:31 ELC06, Area K76K 23° 13’ 4” N, 15° 8’ 5” E Hey big girl. Sun's getting real low. God, I wanted to hit the canyon before sunset. Thing is, with the entire no-such-thing-as-flipping-safely thing, I was not going to risk driving in the dark. Even if I had Minimum Ambient Lighting bumped up, admittedly. It's not like I had to prove the rover's solar-independent propulsion capability, it's a fricking nuclear reactor, it has nothing to prove. Besides, I do have to get RCL Trigger back to the Mobile Hangar to get her out of the craft tracking, and for roleplay purposes the crew can use some downtime to check out the rover for wear and tear, preventive maintenance, R&R. Just for the night, right? I mean, a Martian day is just a tad longer than an Earth day. How bad can a Dunatian night be? Progress by sunset of Sol 1 ONE AND A HALF KERBIN DAYS?! WHO THE [Language!] DECIDED ON DUNA'S PHYSICAL PARAMETERS ANYHOW?! And, too impatient and tired to find some level ground to park the Baserunner on. The team's gonna have to get used to sleeping with their head or feet up. God, I wish I didn't say <<Yes>> to the Elcano.
  14. Chapter Eight - The Science (of today is the technology of tomorrow) Okay, after that car commercial, exactly how is the Baserunner employed to Science the [MULCH] out of Duna? My dudes. I LOVED playing with matchbox cars and Hot Wheels as a kid. True to the Minimum Vessel/Minimum Parts/Minimum Workload philosophy, nearly everything needed is already onboard the Baserunner. Combining docking and KIS storage and assembly allows the entire package of Baserunner + Akita + Honey Bee N to be only 100 parts on the go, which for the capability provided and the limits even of a mid-tier gaming laptop circa 2018 is a bargain (considering my save is running more than thirty flights at this point). Curiosity. Like a cat poking at a pile of cow pie. The only live Science instruments on the Rachel herself are the BTDT-class DMagic anomaly scanner mounted on the laboratory airlock, a surface scanning module to take resource readings, and the CRSY large scanning arm mounted below the command deck. Otherwise, the Baserunner's floor height is still too large to deploy the DMagic terrestrial experiments, and obviously Rachel cannot take situation-in-flight experiment readings. But that's where the combination of field construction and the air/ground tenders comes in. For aerial science, engineers can mount the air-capable experiments taken from their storage lockers topside. God, flying on Duna never gets old. (Yeah, this statement will age like cheese three chapters from now.) After which a pilot and scientist crew can launch with the VH-07 to take their in-flight readings in a snap when all instruments are mapped to an action group. The scientist is on board to reset the Goo and Materials Bay experiments as needed, and facilitate collection of experiment results so that copies can be produced--one for immediate transmission, the other for lab processing. The on-board TST portable hard drive allows for instantaneous collection of results--but to my (and Bob's in this case) horror has insufficient storage for all the data, leading to Bob (and later Verfel) having to EVA, hang on while in flight to take the data from the drive, and the one or two experiments that would not fit (plus an EVA report), reset what needs resetting, and get back into the cabin with everything on board for the second aerial experiment run. (God, I should have tested this on Kerbin, should have used the bigger TST hard drive instead). Eenie meenie miney moe, someone gets burned by a laser. I don't care if it doesn't rhyme. The laser does not, either. In the meanwhile, the dedicated ground experiments are loaded onto the Akita's Buckboard by an engineer, who is joined by a scientist (again for the entire two copies of experiments thing and to reset the core sampler). Once off Rachel and running, Mog on site the crew sets the parking brakes, and the engineer uses the Akita and Buckboard surfaces to mount all the instruments. The onboard solar panel and the Akita's internal monoprop fuel cell provides the necessary power to run the experiments and the TST portable hard drive. Experiment samples are taken (after collection by the hard drive) manually to the airlock for transfer to the permanent Experiment Storage Container topside. (Okay, maybe the entire KIS assembly thing isn't exactly "minimum workload", having to set up both the parts and the action groups. But having them permanently mounted means an extra twenty parts in the mated vessel, plus Kerbals can't use the Airplane Plus skids as four external seats, really they have that functionality. Sometimes I have to pick two of three. And that means fifteen to twenty minutes of assembly and disassembly, flight, drive, experiment, experiment again.) And she sticks the landing!... Sticks the landin... Sticks... Sticks... Okay, I need more practice on my final approaches. Once the Science gets done done and there's research to be run, the crew (hopefully still alive, I'm looking at you Jeb, I don't care if the Honey Bee can hit like 8,000m on Kerbin, you are not here to joyfly that bird like your name's Pete Mitchell) return to the mothership. With the RAST magnets capable of pulling the VTOL in to latch/dock, all the pilot has to do is to land skids on deck, and shimmy the aircraft onto the RAST. Or if s/he's lucky, the RAST magnets will catch near touchdown and pull the Honey Bee in to stick the landing. After the crew disembarks and data and samples transferred to the permanent Experiment Storage Container, the engineer comes back out to dismount and store the instruments--again, minimum parts count. In turn, after stowing all equipment, the Akita is driven back up the ramp to the vehicle bay, the umbilical strut fixed into place, and the rover wheels disengaged. (SAFETY NOTE. Always engage the KAS strut-based umbilical in DOCKED mode before leaving the scene or timewarping. Not only for the minimum vessel count philosophy, but leaving the scene with the Akita attached in undocked mode will find the game trying to load the minirover into the BRN floor on return to regularly scheduled programming, leading to hilariously jacked up insurance rates.) Once everything is packed in, the crew can pack it in, power up the KF monster wheels, and drive off to the next survey site or mission objective. As for that mission objective...
  15. Completed a Duna Elcano. With a mobile base lifted out of Kiith Gaalsien's worst nightmares. Driving (including quicksaving, waypoint/stop marking, and Science gathering pit stops and Duna night time breaks) for 9 (Kerbal) days 33 minutes 26 seconds as best as I could calculate and log, otherwise under 3 Duna sols. Never again. Never fricking again. Yeah, I said that after the Mun Elcano years ago. Okay, evidence compilation time for the challenge thread. Should be easy enough after that pain-in-the-S road trip.
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