Long-term Laythe Mission - Part 10

At Laythe Base, Kurt Kerman finished packing the extra cockpit of the Fido2 rover with several months of supplies and equipment, and wass ready to leave to continue the detailed geological survey of Dansen Island.

Kurt: "Well, see you later, Nelemy."
Nelemy: "Dude! I'm going to miss you!"
Kurt: "Hey, don't worry. You'll be having lots of fun with your new jet plane. And I'll be back before you know it."
Nelemy: "OK. Oh, hey! There were some new flags in the cargo packed in BirdDog2's cockpit. Here."
Kurt: "Are these more joke flags?"
Nelemy: "No way! Genuine Blue, White, and Blue!"
Kurt: "Good. Very patriotic crew loaded the capsule this time. Well, take care, Nelemy. I'll see you...next time!"

Kurt headed off to the northeast in the Fido2. First he wanted going to test out the new rigid-frame rover in the rough highlands to see if it's an improvement over the old Folding Fido. Then he planned to survey parts of the east coast, since he and Nelemy did not get to that part of the plan when their old rover proved to be wobbly and treacherous in steep terrain.

Indeed, the Fido2 proved to handle much better that the old rover, and he pushed it further and further with no problems; it handled terrain at speeds that used to cause his sphincter to seize up when Nelemy was driving. He decided it would be safe to tackle the highest mountain on the island. They didn't have precise elevation data, but it appeared that the highest mountain peak was off to the northeast. Below, he had gotten above the "sand dune" level and into the "weathered cratered terrain". Off in the distance we can see Lake Nelemy and Kurt Lake. He diligently stoped often for samples that will be analyzed later to detect any possibly useful resources...once the boys at KSC get that equipment built and sent to them.

Kurt reached the mountain peak at 3,514 meters. From here he could even see Lake Thompbles, but Fido Bay was hidden by intervening ridges.

Kurt planted the flag of the United Kerbal Republic on the mountain peak with the plaque inscription, "I came in peace, because I drove alone"... but then shortened it to the first four words. Then, after singing the national anthem off key, he hopped into the rover for a little lunch and to prepare for the drive down the mountain.

Kurt: "Kurt to base. Kurt to base."
Thompbles: "Base here, Kurt. How's it going?"
Kurt: "Going great. Rover handles well. Peaceful and quiet. I planted the flag on the mountain top."
Thompbles: "One of Aldner's 'special' flags?"
Kurt: "No, no. One of the UKR flags."
Thompbles: "What? Where did you get that?"
Kurt: "Nelemy had them. They came in the new BirdDog."
Thompbles: "Why am I always the last the know? Anyway, drive safe...I'm off to talk to Nelemy. Base out."

Back at Base, Thompbles rousted out Nelemy and he finally got his flag planting ceremony.

Thompbles: "Ah. That's more like it. We came in peace for all kerbalkind."
Nelemy: "Sahhhhh-LUTE!"
(Thombles and Nelemy both sing the national anthem, off key, then Thompbles turned to get back to work.)
Nelemy: "Ummm... We can still leave the other flag up, too, right?"
Thompbles: "Yes, Nelemy, you can have the other flag up."
Nelemy: "And can I start a big exploration mission with BirdDog2 tomorrow?"
Thompbles: "No. Tomorrow you work with the simulator software. When you're tired of that, you unpack the BirdDog2 and repack it for a multi-month mission. Then more simulator work. Then some planning. And after that, I'll let you do a short mission around Dansen Island."
Nelemy: "Aw, man... Aldner just gets to fly off halfway around the world on a cool mission!"
Thompbles: "I made Aldner do a shakedown mission around Dansen Island before I let him fly to any of the other islands, too. Let's get to work."

Back in the Fido2, Kurt found that heading down the mountain in the new rover was a breeze. And he could stop for supper without having to listen to Nelemy's weird ideas about whether intelligent aliens might exist, and whether or not kerbals could ever reach other stars with faster than light drives, or whether it would be possible for really low density worlds to exist, or whether or not there might be a multi-deity mode where the universe could be run by several controlling beings at once ("Look, Nelemey, that's just crazy talk...don't ever let the Astronaut Squad hear you talking about it"), or...well, it just went on and on.

A primary area of interest that Kurt was to explore was the triangular lowland region jutting off the east coast of Dansen Island. In the orbital surveys, it looked like a great area for a base. Below we see Kurt's rover heading down to the flat area in question.

As it turned out, the region was not a nice flat area after all. Or maybe conditions had changed there after earthquake 0.20. But there were some flatter areas in amongst the ridge lines, so Kurt carefully surveyed the areas for possible resources.

Kurt was a bit bored after a quiet lunch one day, so he headed down to the seashore. The beach was a bit too steep for his tastes, but he took a vacation photo:

After mapping the region thoroughly, Kurt concluded that while it might not be a great region to set up a base, there were a few level spots that could be useful for bases if there were resources in the surrounding rougher areas, which were still plenty accessible for resource extraction. But the place just seemed kind of quiet and boring. So Kurt headed to the next objective, southward and up inland to a large depression. The rover continued to handle beautifully.

Below: A high view from the north of the light colored depression that Kurt investigated next.

Down in the valley, Kurt set up camp to spend several more days sampling and surveying the site. It was a nice wide-bottom bowl, certainly well protected from tsunamis. A good place for an inland base. The ridges surrounding the valley also kept out the wind, which probably explained why the location was so quiet. Another dull location.

Back at Laythe Base, Thompbles was finally satisfied with Nelemy's training on the simulators and with his preparations and planning, so he approved Nelemey taking the BirdDog2 out for a short shakedown mission. Happy as a clam, Nelemy got up at the crack of dawn and readied the BirdDog2 for takeoff. This time he remembered to head west for takeoff, parallel to the low ridge lines. He disengaged the brakes, made sure he waited long enough for the plane to be rolling free, and then lit up the jet engine.

Nelemy: "WooHoo! I'm on my way!"
Thompbles: "OK. Good luck, Nelemy. Keep in touch."
(master alarm blares)
Nelemy: "Uh, oh."
Thompbles: "What's wrong, Nelemy?"
Nelemy: "Umm. Tire pressure warning lights on the two rover wheels. Oh... Ah... I forgot to lower the nose gear before takeoff, and I blew the rover wheels. It's OK, I can fix them when I land."
Thompbles: "Nelemy, you do have Mr. Checklist, right? It's supposed to always be on that shelf by your left hand."
Nelemy: (Eyes the shelf on the left where his box of snacks is sitting. He pats his pockets with a free hand.) "Ah. Yes. I've got it right here." (Nelemy scans the list. Nelemy raises the rear landing gear.) "Everything under control. I'm coming back around to head northeast."
Thompbles: "Keep the checklist handy, Nelemy. And fly safely, OK?"

Nelemy's first port of call: A visit to Kurt! Not that he told Kurt about this. So the first Kurt knew about it was when the BirdDog2 shattered the quiet of the upland valley and came in for a landing, rushing past about 20 meters from his rover.

Kurt: "What in hells blazes?!"
Nelemy: "Yo, Kurt, Dude! Wake up! I've come to visit!"

Kurt watched as Nelemy circled the BirdDog2 around in a wide arc with the jet engine on minimal power, rolling on landing gear. Nelemy parked the plane and hopped out and ran over to Kurt.

Nelemy: "Yo, Dude! Did you miss me?"
Kurt: (Kurt looks at Nelemy. Looks at the damaged plane. Looks around the formerly quiet valley.) "You know...I guess I did."
Nelemy: "Yeah, Dude! I missed you too! Want to help me fix my tires?"
Kurt: "How about you fix your tires, and I'll start fixing some breakfast? I've got yellow musssh."
Nelemy: "Dude! Deal!"

Nelemy fixed both rover wheels. Kurt came over later and inspected them. It looked like there was no serious damage to the wheels, just the blown tires. So the boys went back to Kurts rover and had a yellow mush dinner that couldn't be beat, and didn't get up until the next morning.

In fact, Nelemy stayed for two days helping Kurt take core samples and survey the area, and they stayed up all night talking about wild and crazy things, like when the next tidal wave might hit, and whether it was a good idea or not to use autopilot computers, and had another yellow mush dinner that couldn't be beat, and didn't get up until the next morning when Nelemy had to go continue his shakedown mission.

Being careful to lower the front landing gear this time, and after going through the checklist twice, Nelemy took off in the BirdDog2 and headed up over the ridge and off to the southeast.

Thompbles: "Laythe Base calling BirdDog2. Come in, Nelemy."
Nelemy: "Oh, hey! It's the Thomp-meister!"
Thompbles: "..."
Nelemy: "The Thompster. The Thomparino. Makin' contact"
Thompbles: "..."
Nelemy: "The Thompinator.."
Thompbles: "I think just 'Thompbles' or 'Dude' would be fine from you, Nelemy, don't you agree?"
Nelemy: "Oh, yeah, sure. Sorry, Dude."
Thompbles: "No problem. Telemetry shows you've taken off. Are you heading to the island now?"
Nelemy: "Oh, yeah! I've got it in sight now. Looks like a piece of cake."
Thompbles: "OK. Let me know how the landing goes. Laythe Base out."

Nelemy came in low for the landing, decided he didn't like the upslope, and instead hopped over it to land on the flat area beyond. No damage, no problems.

Nelemy: "Nelemy to base. I'm down safe and sound, Dude!"
Thompbles: "Roger, I copy you down, BirdDog2. Good work."
Nelemy: "I would like to name this island Mariliza Island!"
Thompbles: "... Um, you're not going to try to name all you islands after barmaids and such now, are you Nelemy?"
Nelemy: "Dude...Mariliza is my mother's name."
Thompbles: "Oh. Hey, sorry, Nelemy. I didn't mean anything by it."
Nelemy: "No problem, Dude! Mom worked as a barmaid all through college before she got her job in procurement at KSC. She said serving drinks was a great job. Lots of tips. No annoying government red tape."
Thompbles: "Ah. OK, Nelemy, I'll send it in."
Nelemy: "Thanks, Dude. I'm off to explore! BirdDoggie out!"

Mariliza island is not very large, but there's no terribly steep terrain and it's very close to the equator, so it would make a nice base if you aren't afraid of tsunamis. Below we see that Nelemy has driven the BirdDoggie...er, BirdDog2...all the way to the eastern end of the island. He diligently took samples and surveyed the land before heading back to the larger flattish area on the left side in this picture.

On this spot, which Nelemy considered to be the best piece of real estate on the island, Nelemy filed a claim and planted a flag, then sung the national anthem off key and set up camp for the night.

The next day, Nelemy followed the checklist, which only had a little chocolate on it, and took off to return to Laythe Base.

As Nelemy headed back toward base, he passed over a large flat area.

Nelemy: "Yo, Kurt! Are you awake today, bud?"
Kurt: "I've been up for hours, Nelemy. What's up?"
Nelemy: "I'm passing over the area east of Joysina Lake. It's a very big flat area. Looks like it might be great for a large inland base. You should check it out."
Kurt: "I'll do that, Nelemy. Thanks for the tip."
Nelemy: "No problemo, Dude. BirdDoggie out!"

Several kilometers east of the base, Nelemy practiced a downslope landing, then used rover mode to drive the rest of the way back to base. He docked the BirdDog2 to the GasStation and replaced the 40 units of fuel he had used on the mission. He did have some trouble backing away from the GasStation since he had managed to get his left wing tip close in beyond the GasStation's leg, so he could back up (and couldn't go forward, of course, since the refueling port hits the tail if you try that). With a little forward and backward wiggling, he got the plane free.

Back to Laythe Base in time for lunch!

Today's map of Kurt's and Nelemy's travels.

In the meantime, of course, Aldner had been exploring some of the islands that were part of Manley Crater.

Aldner's first target was the island northeast on Manley Base. From a distance, most of the island looked like a high ridge with steep sides, but it did appear to have a low, flatter area on its southern end, so Aldner made for that.

Aldner set the plane down easily, then got out to do a little sampling and looking around.

Thompbles: "Laythe Base to Aldner. Do you copy?"
Aldner: "Greetings, Friendly Voice From The Sky. What can I do for you?"
Thompbles: "The telemetry link showed that you cam to a stop on another island. Everything OK?"
Aldner: "All is copacetic, Sky Voice Sir. Other than that big green ball hanging over my head. I would like to name this big strip of land Scott Island, if you please. Named after the right honorable Senator Scott Kerman, long time promoter of the kerbal space program."
Thompbles: "Roger. I think you'll win some points with management for that name."
Aldner: "Always happy to please upper management, Sir. The island itself doesn't look very exciting. It's like a big slug poking its big rounded back and steep sides up out of the ocean. The southern end has a good spot for a low base, but unless you like high kind-of-rounded terrain, you're out of luck for the rest of the island."
Thompbles: "I'll send in the name, but I'll leave off your poetic description. And who knows? We might find some valuable resources based on the samples you collect there."

Aldner drove the rover/plane up onto the high back of the slug, taking samples as he went. He covered half the length of the island and got to a high point of over 2,900 meters elevation. The rest of the island looked to be more of the same, and Aldner could see something more interesting off to the left: The smaller, round island in the center of the Manley Crater formation, which must have been caused by the crust rebounding after the impact that created the crater. The geologists wanted samples from there, and it looked like more of a challenge to the bored Aldner. So he left Scott Island for the central island.

Most of the shoreline of the central peak island looked pretty steep, but there appeared to be a couple narrow, flatter beach patches along the north shore, so Aldner took the BirdDog in.

Aldner came in from the east along the dune lines, but this was one of those cases where the dune patterns did not match the pattern of low ridges in the landscape. But that just meant the BirdDog bumped back up into the air a couple times before coming to rest. No problems.

Aldner: "Yo, Skyman Thompbles...are you with me?"
Thompbles: "I'm here, Aldner. All is well?"
Aldner: "Landed safe and sound on a little beach on the central peak island of the crater formation. I'd like to name this Its Island, Sir."
Thompbles: "Its? I know an Itsi that works at the Refueling Station Bar & Grill in KSCtown, but who is Its?"
Aldner: "Famous mathematician, Sir, from the third century Ephebian Empire. He discovered zero."
Thompbles: "He discovered nothing?"
Aldner: "Ha! I see that living in the sky makes people funny, Sir. No. You know the Ephebian Numerials, right? They go i, ii, iii, iv, v..."
Thompbles: "Yes, Aldner. I got through grade school."
Aldner: "Glad to hear it, Sir. So the Ephebians had simple mathematics until Its came along and discovered zero and negative numbers. One of my heros, Sir."
Thompbles: "So noted. I'll call in the name."

Aldner started his drive, intending to reach the peak of the island...but it soon got to be very steep.

Aldner: "Damn."
Thompbles: "What's up, Aldner. Problem?"
Aldner: "Well, I've been navigating some pretty steep terrain, slowly winding my way around and up the island, when the batteries of the BirdDog started to go dead. It's that big-ass green thing hanging in the sky...it's blocked off the sunlight."
Thompbles: "Are you safe in place?"
Aldner: "Sure. I'm even at what passes for a moderately level patch for the hillsides of this island. I guess this is Big Green Thing's way of telling me it's time for lunch."

The eclipse of Kerbol by Jool lasted for about an hour, giving Aldner plenty of time to eat, collect some more samples, and have a quick nap before Kerbol reappeared and started recharging the BirdDog's batteries.

Aldner continued winding his way up the island mountain, only considering a few times if this was too dangerous and maybe he should point the nose a little downhill and fire of the jet engine and take off. But he stuck with it, eventually having to go more than 360 degrees around the island to get to the peak. Or the two peaks, actually, separated by a lower saddle. He planted his plag on the taller peak at 1,975 meters.

Aldner: "Calling Thompbles. Come in."
Thompbles: "What's up, Aldner?"
Aldner: "I'm at the peak of the island. Those geologists better appreciate the work I went through to get these samples. There are two peaks here. I like to name one 'ItsOne Peak' and the other 'ItsTwo Peak'. Except please note that these are to be written in the Ephebian Numeral fashion, with run together numbering."
Thompbles: "So...those would be spelled 'I-t-s-i' and 'I-t-s-i-i' correct?"
Aldner: "Yes, sir. Isti and Itsii. Itsi Peak has an elevation of 1,975 meters"
Thompbles: "OK, Aldner, I'll call it in and explain the numbering. I'm sure nobody will notice."
Aldner: "As long as one person notices, it will be mission accomplished."
Thompbles: "What's next, Aldner? Camp? Or fly on?"
Aldner: "I'll fly over to the next island. BirdDog out."

Aldner pointed the plane northwest, then let it start rolling down the mountain (the slope is pretty shallow near Itsi Peak), then kicked in the jet engine and was off.

This next island was going to be a breeze compared to what Aldner just went through to collect samples from the central peak island for those geologists. This island had no high mountains, and it had at least two likely looking harbor areas. Prime real estate. Aldner headed for the bay area on the east coast of the island and landed with no difficulties.

Aldner: "Yo, Thompbles."
Thompbles: "Hi, Aldner. Telemetry signal is strong. Shows you stationary at low altitude with no recent high acceleration spikes. I assume you are calling to report a successful landing?"
Aldner: "It's like you can read minds, sir. Nice site. Beautiful bay. I'd like to name this fine island Hellou Island if you would be so kind as to register that."
Thompbles: "Named after Hellou Kerman, the scientist who taught the astronaut squad all about geology, I presume?"
Aldner: "Yes, sir. She's a very famous scientist. She even gave me private lessons when I was having difficulties with the igneous rock stuff. And I'd like to named this Feldspar Bay. I'm sure she'll remember why."
Thompbles: "OK, Aldner. Hellou Island. Feldspar Bay. Did you know that she applied to be an astronaut?"
Aldner: "No, really? When was this?"
Thompbles: "Just last week. There are some people lobbying for the inclusion of female astronauts. They are hoping that the Astronaut Squad will change their minds and allow it."
Aldner: "That would be great. She'd be a hell of a lot more use here than I am. All these rock formations are starting to look the same to me."

Below, Hellou Island, with Feldspar Bay on the lower right side. There is a small ridge that separates the bay from an inland lake in a bowl. The flats by the bay could be an excellent landing base area, and other facilities could be set up in the bowl with the ridge to protect the site from any small tsunamis that would swamp the landing area. Aldner next drove north to check out the two little lakes there...he waded in and found them to be deeper than a kerbal. Then he drove on to the northwest to the other bay area on the west coast of the island. Note that the island has no really high elevations, but the terrain is somewhat rugged in places with those dangerous little V-bottom-valleys that you don't want to go barreling into too fast.

Aldner: "Captain Thompbles. Pick up the phone, please."
Thompbles: "I'm here, Aldner"
Aldner: "I'm at the bay on the western shore. Broader. Protected by some sand bar islands. Some moderately flat areas. Excellent investment opportunities. Would you like me to send you a prospectus?"
Thompbles: "I assume you're calling to name it?"
Aldner: "Aye, aye, Skip. Please register it as Labradorite Bay."
Thompbles: "Labradorite? Can't say I remember it. Some mineral from your private lessons?"
Aldner: "Oh, aye. I have fond memories of those geology lessons. Anorthosite bodies with interesting cleavage. Intrusive formation. And the ultramafic cumulates!"
Thompbles: "OK, Aldner. Whatever. The name is noted. Laythe Base out."

After all that thinking about geology, Aldner thought he might like a nice swim in the cold waters of Laythe's oceans. So he decided to swim out to the big sand bar island. The distance to the island was about 180 meters, and Aldner swam it in 3 minutes flat, so that's a speed of 1 m/s. That was swimming with the Shift key held down, so I assume it's faster than regular swimming speed (without the Shift key held down).

Aldner swam back and boarded the BirdDog to rove around the rest of the island.

Below: Looking south toward Labradorite Bay. The western part of the island has a ridge line with the highest elevations on the island (not terribly high). The eastern edge is smoother. Aldner collect samples from all over.

The northern tip of the island is not particularly inviting, but there was a small lake there, and Aldner set up camp for the night to ponder what to do next.

Below is today's map of Aldner's adventures.

The next thing I need to do is figure out how I can get the most exploration bang for my buck with the fuel I have for the two BirdDogs. Should Aldner keep going north to the fiddly bits of islands just north of Manley Crater, or should he save fuel for some major pushes around the rim islands of Big-Ass Crater (or whatever we'll decide to call it). The islands to the south look inviting...but the arc of islands to the north offer the opportunity to get long distances on less fuel with roving. And what of Nelemy in BirdDog2? Should I send him off to the three moderate sized islands to the northeast? Or off to the big islands to the northwest. Aldner could certainly pick up a couple southern islands (like that cool dragon-shaped island) on his way back to Dansen Island eventually. So many decisions.

But enough for now. Remember... Fly safe! Thanks for watching. Later, guys. And if you liked the video, please do like the video. And I will see you....next time (scrollout, scrollout, scrollout).