Flieger, grüß' mir die Sonne, grüß' mir die Sterne und grüß' mir den Mond. Dein Leben, das ist ein Schweben, durch die Ferne, die keiner bewohnt! - Hans Albers, F.P.1 antwortet nicht (Adaptation in the 80s: Extrabreit)

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Science Reaping

I needed to jolt out of my construction reverie. A good design idea from the Kerbal forums, small and quick to realize, finally got me back into action. Target activities: To squeeze out both Minmus and Mün of the last of their scientific potential.

This is a borrowed design idea from the Kerbal forums. While I always thought that nuclear engines are best for huge payloads, this very slim design also profits very much, with an available deltaV of  >6000. More than enough to reach Minmus and land on every biome, thereby using every science toy from my insofar fully unlocked tech tree.

The Spacefish together with the Mini Lander arrive a Mün. First task, a mission contract to measure temperature at five locations, all conveniently above 10km altitude. This takes some time, time-warping forward. The orbit is low and fast enough that I cannot miss any of those navigation points while they pass by under the spaceship.

Finally, I am ready to let the Mini Lander do its job.

First touchdown, "polar lowlands". It´s dark on Mün´s south pole, and mountain ridges block the low raising sun. This particular location is very close to "pole" biome, but I do not have enough practise and waste too much deltaV, and thereby not dare anymore an even little hop accross the hill. It dawns on me that the old Concept Lander with about 1000dV more would probably have been a better choice.

Going back into orbit, refueling at the Spacefish, then down again to the next location, the biome "Southwest Crater".  Again, other biomes are very close, but practically out of reach. Also, due to being on the night side, electricty runs low and I have to switch off and conserve the meager battery supply. Which in turn leads to a bug; after returning vom EVA and switching battery back on, the SAS is defunct. I thus crash two reloads worth of launches, and a third launch produces a totally screwed orbit, thus stranding the Mini Lander too far away from its re-fuel supply, the Spacefish.

A fourth or fifth reload in a new game session finally solves the bug; SAS gets screwed when you return from EVA while batteries are switched off. Switch them back on, go again on EVA and return, and all is fine again. Up we go, re-fuel, and down again at the biome "Twin-Crater". I am now trying to save as much fuel as possible, and produce a very hard landing. Oops. But lucky I am; somehow, the biome "Northwest Crater" has been smuggled in!

The deltaV saved from the last touchdown at 12m/s indeed does enable me to do afford a little hop onwards, to the orignially planned location, the biome "Twin-Crater". I even get to catch the biome "Midland", too (though it has already been measured by most science toys from a previous expedition of the Mun Lander).

The Spacefish´s fuel reserves are finally depleted, and I make way back to Kerbin orbit. One little bug bugs me again, though. One tourist had opted for both a Mün flyby, as well as a Mün orbit. Well, just the orbit got checked, but not the flyby. I fear that a whole expensive tourist contract is going to be screwed because of this.

My Mün expedition took over six Kerbal days, enough time for my new nuclear driven vessel to arrive at Minmus. BTW, its female pilot baptised the vessel in the meanwhile; "Atomic Kitten".

First touchdown; biome "Great Flats". Well, after a reload because of a touch- and "litterally" topple-down on the neighbouring "Slopes"...

Being warned of the treacherous slopes, I try to let the Atomic Kitten gently hop over there. Both Slopes and Midlands get checked off like this. Unfortunately, there is no way to keep this vessel upright on slopes, less even to get it up again! In my need, I just use the whole slope as a starting ramp. Thanks to the low gravity, this works without damaging the vessel. Next touchdown location; "Lowlands". Like the former two, it has already been measured from the Minmus Lander, but the Atomic Kitten has additional science equipment, so I might as well go and measure again all biomes. This vessel has more than enough deltaV to do so, anyways.

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