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Voyage around Vall (Elcano of Vall)


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This thread is about my rover trip around Jool's moon Vall. This is meant to be an Elcano/Elkano attempt where I carry out a polar circumnavigation of Vall. Here I intend to provide enough screenshots to document that I actually do the complete circumnavigation and to show the beauty of Vall scenery. Also I allow my self to use f5/f9 as much as is neede.

Why to circumnavigate a celestial body by land in KSP?

I will have to admit that a land circumnavigation of a celestial body in KSP is very lengthy and tedious process. Nevertheless I have wanted to do so ever since I heard that the Elcano challenge exists.  I have former experience from a lengthy rover science gathering mission on Mun. Despite hours of tedious driving around the gray landscape of Mun, I did find the mission quite fulfilling and rewarding. Partly just because it took a long time to get anywhere. I expect this mission to be similarly rewarding experience.

Why Vall?

Previously my goal was to perform a similar circumnavigation of Eve, since is Eve my favourite planet in the stock Kerbol system. My plan to perform this circumnavigation in reasonably short time and fun way, was to use the Rovemax XL3 wheels, and exploit the fact that they can accelerate the rover to extremely high velocity if you tap the keys "a" and "d" while pressing "w". Unfortunately the challenge maintainer of the Elkano challenge was adamant, that this is cheating and not allowed. After trying out a rover that obeys the rules on Eve I felt that it was frustratingly slow and couldn't climb the hills and mountains of Eve. So the circumnavigation would take a very long time and be more frustrating since I couldn't scale hills and mountains. Vall was the next best option. A lot smaller, but sill reasonably beautiful celestial body, whit low gravity to make rover faster and better at climbing mountains.

Relevant mods



This is a modded Elcano attempt and I will list the relevant mods used in the mission.


Basic DeltaV

BetterBurn Time

Crowd Sourced Science

Distant Object Enchancement

Kerbal Alarm Clock

Kerbal Joint Reinforcement (I believe that this mod was not necessary, but it might have had a role)


Transfer Window Planner

Sci-Fi Visual Enchancement


Voyage to Vall


This is the rocket at launchpad. It devotedly follows the design principle "There is no such a thing as too much deltaV!". It has several thousands extra m/s of DeltaV to make sure that Vall is actually reached without shadow of a doubt.



This was my first ever manned flyby or orbit of Jool. :-)



Successful landing! The land voyage may now begin. The blue flickering is from the Sci-fi visual enchancement mod.

I'll soon make a new post once there is progression to show.

Thank you for your time!

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Cool rover, good sir. Best o'luck to ye, I've always thought that Vall was underappreciated. I might be a little biased, though, given that what persuaded me to originally buy Kerbal Space Programme was a video of a rover driving on Vall. Also, Sci-FiVE is the best.

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Progress has been made! I made the decision to towards north for my circumnavigation. Also I will mark my trail with flags that will be placed about 100km from each other or if I otherwise feel like setting up a flag. Also I won't be driving perfectly straight all the way around. Instead I'll try to hit all/most biomes, anomalies or interesting sights. You can probably see that I have already made a minor detour to visit a mountaintop. (The flag placed on the top says "Mt.Elcano")

Then some images! (Most of the text is also behind the spoiler)




First I had to cross some relatively flat ground of the Northeast basin biome. You may notice that the sky is completely black. This is because The Distant Object Enchantment mod hides the skybox when there are much brighter things on screen. This is realistic, but I didn't like it so I turned it off. In later screenshots you'll see the stars.


Here I'm scaling my first mountain. I had been worried that my rover would prove incapable of scaling these mountains, but it seems to be able to drive very steep hills up and down no problem.


This is an image from the top of the first mountain. One of my favourite screenshots from KSP of all time. I have added more light to it since the image felt too dark at first. On the foreground you can see the rover crew and in the background there are Laythe, Tylo and Jool. The deep blue color of Laythe is from the Sci-fi visual enchantment mod. In theory Kerbin and Eve are also visible, but they are impossible to be identified without pointing them with the cursor. But they are the two dots nearly touching each other little bit left from the sun. The crewmembers are Frosted the pilot, Lawin the engineer and Litzford the scientist. All somewhat experienced and capable kerbonauts. I sent my best kerbonauts to Eve, so these are something of a crew B.


Coming down again. I have already used f5/f9 a lot but this fall was actually survivable.


Then I had to cross a large flat area on polar biome. There isn't lot of light when this far north.


The pole it self was located on a very high and bugged mountain. I think you can all see where the pole is in this image.


The sight from the polar mountain was actually quite grand one. Although the terrain is seriously bugged and has a lot of holes. I named the place Mt.Louhi. Louhi is the female matron of the underworld in Finnish folklegends so I thought that she is a good namesake for a place like this.

I think my crew doesn't like Val...






Edited by Ixamus
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Amazing screenshots! That subtle variation in Vall's shades of blue, the dust, those bright rocks - yep, that's one sweet moon. And then as soon as I got a feel for the scale of that basin, there's that image of the reset of the Jool system that threw my perspective into confuzzles. *clap clap clap clap clap clap*

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More progress has been made! As you see there I haven't been driving straight as I have once again took a detour. This time to visit an anomaly. I intend to visit every biome and anomaly on Vall. This has the problem that it diverts my circumnavigation. To make my circumnavigation legitimate I'll visit both of the poles and cross the equator on points that are directly on the opposite sides of the moon.

Images and description of my journey behind spoiler.




First I had to decent from the buggy polar mountain. Descend was equal parts falling great vertical drops and pressing f9.  The scenery is dark and gloomy.


Eventually I managed to get my rover down and a major flat area follows. From this point all I have encountered has been flat and minor dune like hills. The pointy mountain behind is the north pole which I gave the name "Louhi".


This image pretty much sums up the terrain I faced. Flat and dunes. My rover can drive up to 60 m/s on terrain like this. Unfortunately the faster I drive the more likely it is that there will be a jump I wont survive. Some quicksaves had to be used. I know that many people drive their Elcano journeys 15 or 20 m/s but that's something I couldn't do. Perhaps I could have designed a rover with rollcage so it could just take the beating. Maybe next time.


This is one of the jumps I mentioned. I believe that I survived this one without f9, but many other broke parts of my rover. It's not that I would fall too hard, but rover may bounce and start to spin. In that case there is a change that I can't correct the rolling and the next touchdown will happen roof first.


This is the anomaly I found. I'm a bit disappointed that there are so many of these generic anomalies, but so few unique ones outside the Kerbin system.

I put up two flags during this portion of the voyage. First I is on polar flatlands which I named "Tuonela". Tuonela is the underworld where the dead go in the Finnish folklore. I chose the name because I already had used similar themed name "Louhi" before. Also the underworld is situated in the far north in the Finnish folk stories so I though that it is a fitting name.



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