Long-term Laythe - Part 38

Bopping Around Bop Again

When we last left our plucky kerbals on Bop, Emilynn and Hellou were having a turn driving the Bop Fido rover, heading West from the Base Lander currently parked at Sleepy Hollow. They had stopped to sample the white ejecta at Wight Valley...and as we pick up the story, they are continuing West into the giant impact feature that Hellou has dubbed Goblin Crater.

After the entertainment value of driving on Bop subsided for me, I began to experiment with MechJeb's Rover Autopilot. I had found the autopilot to be of limited usefulness on Laythe, but that was mostly because the old-style rover wheels I was using there could not go straight up steep hills (not enough grip), which the autopilot tries to do...so I had to manually do contour driving instead. And, when going downhill, the autopilot would let my old-style-wheel rover go too fast, since it did not use the brakes for slowing...apparently trying to slow using wheel speed control only.

For my Bop Fido, which uses the much grippier ruggedized wheels, the MechJeb Rover Autopilot works very well. The Fido can climb straight up steep hills, and the wheel speed control can prevent its downhill velocity from running away. The most important feature, however, is the Stability Control check box. When the rover hits those inevitable ground-snag bugs and gets flipped up into the 'air,' the Stability Control quickly gets the rover leveled out for when it lands. That's wonderful.

Below: Emilynn pilots the rover up the rim surrounding Goblin Crater.

Uneven or angled terrain is no problem for the autopilot. And while I am fast enough to quickly compensate for the ground-snag induced flip-outs at 1x or 2x (especially when I'm ready to control the attitude of the rover with my joystick), the autopilot's stability control can handle things at 3x or even 4x physical time warp.

The marker in the right part of the image below reading 27.4 km shows the direction to the Lewis PB Lander (from the Mark Twain PB mission that first explored Pol and Bop over a decade ago). That is Emilynn's driving target.

As the Fido neared the peak of a ridge at over 12,000 meters, Emilynn spotted Vall on the horizon. The kerbals have some nice zoom on the binoculars they use in their cockpits. A map view is also below:

What exactly constitutes the rim of the Goblin Crater feature is difficult to say, because it is so large on such a small, bumpy moon. Perhaps Ominous Ridge is part of the crater rim. Perhaps this ridge they just crossed is the crater rim. It's rather confusing because the white markings are not symmetrically centered on the white markings further west that appear to radiate out from an impact point. Is this white stuff ejecta, or is it places where rock has been scoured away down to a lighter layer by impact blasts? I hope Hellou figures this out, because I'm stymied.

As Emilynn drove further West, Vall rose higher...followed into the sky by Laythe...and then eventually Jool peeked up above the horizon.

After crossing over the ridge, they saw a dark bowl-like feature where the Lewis PB Lander is located. Hellou named this feature Goblin Pit. Possibly it's just a deep part of the floor of Goblin Crater, or maybe it's a later impact feature.

Finally, our heroines reached their stopping point...the Lewis PB Lander. The old Mark Twain PB mission carried two landers. It first stopped at Pol, where then-rookie astronaut Nelemy Kerman landed in the Lewis PB Lander and then returned to the mothership. Then the mothership carried both landers to Bop, where Thompbles Kerman landed by the Kraken with the Clark PB Lander...then returned to the mothership. The Lewis had been brought along to serve as a possible rescue vehicle...but after the Mark Twain left to return to Kerbin, the Lewis PB was landed unmanned on Bop, and then remotely hopped across Bop, ending up in Goblin Pit.

Hellou got out to do a lot of sample collection in Goblin Pit.

Emilynn: "Hey, Chickadee?"
Hellou: "Yes, Emi?"
Emilynn: "When we first drove down into Goblin Pit here, Jool was no longer visible above the horizon. But I can't help but notice that it is above the horizon now. Isn't Bop tidally locked to Jool?"
Hellou: "Yes, Bop is in a 1:1 resonance orbit...and, yes, that would normally mean that Jool would stay in the same place in the sky. But Bop's orbit is quite eccentric, so Jool's position wobbles quite a bit back and forth...and from here, it's sometimes above the horizon and sometimes below."
Emilynn: "Ah, Thankie. As long as nothing spooky is going on. I'm going to call up the boys and have them haul their butts over here now."
Hellou: "Well, I'm sure if you ask them politely like that, they won't be able to resist."

Emilynn: "Fido to Bop Base. Look lively, Buzz. We are ready for you guys to hop on over."
Aldner: "Roger, Hawk. We are getting ready now. When we separated the Materials Exposure Module, it just sort of hopped up and fell back down on top the tank again instead of falling off. Nelemy's outside seeing to removing it."
Emilynn: "How's he going to do that?"
Aldner: "I told him to use his head. So...I suspect he'll head-butt it with his helmet."
Nelemy: "Ow! ...OK, Dude...the Science Junior module is clear."
Aldner: "Nice job. Now climb in a get strapped down."

It was already night at Sleepy Hollow, but there was still daylight at Goblin Pit for the landing. Aldner lifted off slowly, tilting to the West, until he was sure their trajectory would be high enough to pass over Ominous Ridge. Then he tipped the Lander to horizontal and fired the engines again to stretch the trajectory over to Goblin Pit. A little right-angle tweaking burn was needed to adjust the aim.

Below, the Bop Base Lander approaches Goblin Pit, and Aldner blasts to slow the horizontal motion of the Lander, and then eases it down about 400 meters from the Fido rover.

Aldner used about 16% of the Lander's original fuel load to do the hop.

Aldner: "Your hotel has arrived, ladies. Would you like to drive over for some fine dining? I can get our master chef Nelemy started on it right away."
Hellou: "No. Get master chef Nelemy up in the command module with you so that I can take a proper shower first. After I'm presentable, we'll have dinner. The shower facilities in these rover cabins leave a lot to be desired."

Below: Night at Goblin Pit, with Jool hanging in the West. There were no ghost stories told, at Nelemy's insistance. Nighttime lasts half a week on Bop.

When the sun rose, Nelemy was excited to go check out his old Lewis PB Lander...so Aldner and Nelemy got in the Fido to drive on over to investigate it.

Nelemy: "Dude! Look at this old thing! It really brings back memories!"
Aldner: "I know. It's very similar to the one I used to land on Dres.
Nelemy: "Dude...remember how crappy those landing legs were? They would shimmy and wiggle all over the place on even a moderate slope."
Aldner: "Yeah. Hmmm. Those landing legs don't look all that weak now."
Nelemy: "Umm... Yeah. They seem to be sturdier than I remember. Huh."
Aldner: "Well, memory is a funny thing. Maybe all the parts have vacuum welded after all this time."

Nelemy climbed the ladder and got inside the capsule of the Lewis PB.

Nelemy: "Dude, this is great!"
Aldner: "Yeah...but the accommodations were a bit cramped, as I recall."
Nelemy: "Yeah, Dude. The snack compartments were really small. Hey...the snack compartments are all empty."
Aldner: "Imagine my surprise."

Nelemy: "Wow! The system clock is still running, Dude. Thirteen years, fifty-four days, fourteen hours, and fifty-six minutes!"
Aldner: "How time flies when you're having fun."
Nelemy: "The two side tanks are empty, but the center tanks has over 57 fuel. Monoprop is at 87.5%. I should fly this thing into orbit!"
Aldner: "You should NOT. We have a perfectly good modern lander, plus two lander/habs in orbit that could be used, plus a Fido that has more than enough fuel to reach orbit. We aren't going to need to rely on a 13-year-old ship."
Nelemy: "Dude, you're no fun."

Nelemy did get Aldner to snap a picture of him standing on top of his old lander. (On of the fun things about having an ancient save-game file is that I have 'Easter Eggs' of old equipment laying around all over the Kerbol system.)

Hellou wanted to investigate the central and western areas of the large Goblin Crater feature, so Aldner offered to drive (in order to give Emilynn a break). I tried experimenting with MechJeb's Rover Autopilot's Waypoint feature...but I'm not sure I was using it properly. The green beam points through the central peak of the crater to the low-lying area beyond.

The central highland (possibly a central peak of the large crater feature...but more like a ridge) topped out around 10,580 meters, and then Aldner proceded down the opposite side. I'm sure Hellou insisted on more stops for surface sampling than Nelemy ever did.

The low point in the western part of Goblin Crater was at about 5,770 meters. This is near the center of the small feature of radial white markings. Is it part of the crater floor of the large Goblin Crater feature, or a small impact feature that was formed later?

Aldner and Hellou then continued further West up the far rim of Goblin Crater. The autopilot was acting weird here: I had disabled the Waypoints (I think), but when I set a Heading, the autopilot wanted to head in some other direction. So I just went back to mainually aiming the rover direction.

Up on the far rim, Aldner and Hellou went as far as 78° 37' East longitude into a white area. They did not go all the way to the top of the rim, but this did place the Fido Rover over 151 degrees West of its original landing location. A good drive...but it is a small moon.

Aldner drove the Fido back down toward the northeast a little to get to the whitest patch of ground in the area. Hellou got out to do some extensive surface sampling and digging.

Hellou: "Hey, Aldner... Don't just sit around in that cockpit. Come on out here."
Aldner: "I never miss a chance for a little snooze on the job. But, OK...coming out."
Hellou: "Just look at that vista! A titanic crater formed by a mighty impact almost powerful enough to shatter this moon. The distant towering mountains of the rim. The complex shape of the crater floor. The mysterious surface shading pattern. Such magnificent desolation on an airless world that only one other kerbal had set foot on before we got here. It's beautiful!"
Aldner: "Aww. And you wanted to share this with me?"
Hellou: "No...I need help getting this bulky sample box up into the cabin."

The drive back to Goblin Pit Base was uneventful, but there was a nice view of Tylo making a close pass by Bop when they returned to the Lander.

The crew camped out at Goblin Pit for another week. I used the opportunity to study the motion of Jool in the sky from Goblin Point. The sequence below of Jool rising and reaching its highest point took about two Earth days. When Jool was rising, Bop was passing through the periapsis point of its orbit. It moves fastest there, and its rotation rate can't keep up to make Jool sit in one spot, so Jool drifts eastward across the sky at that time. The fact that this was happening around sunset time at Goblin Pit just depended on where the Jool system was located in its orbit around Kerbol; when Jool is in other parts of its orbit, this wobble will be seen when Kerbol is elsewhere in the sky.

For the next part of the Fido's drive, Aldner and Nelemy were again in the rover while Hellou and Emilynn remained with the Lander Base. Aldner drove north, up into the highlands of Goblin Crater's north rim area.

Again, I had the Rover Autopilot running the show here, but this time a 4x physics warp...and when they hit some ground-snags, the rover did some very impressive acrobatics. Nelemy even got the complete roll he was hoping for at one point. But the Stability Control system always got the vehicle reoriented to land safely every time...because it runs at 4x time warp too.

The highest point found along this northward path was at over 16,400 meters in a white area (and there were even higher heights off to the East of their path here).

Nelemy was getting a bit bored again.

Nelemy: "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with...G."
Aldner: "Ghost?"
Nelemy: "No."
Aldner: "Gobiln?"
Nelemy: "No."
Aldner: "Ghoul?"
Nelemy: "No."
Aldner: "Graveyard?"
Nelemy: "No, Dude! It's nothing scary. It's just 'Ground'. OK...your turn."
Aldner: "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with D."
Nelemy: "Um...Dish? The high gain dish?"
Aldner: "No."
Nelemy: "Um...Dirt?"
Aldner: "No."
Nelemy: "Um...um...It's not something like 'Demon,' is it?"
Aldner: "No."
Nelemy: "I give up."
Aldner: "Depression! Up ahead."
Nelemy: "Lovely, Dude."

The rover seemed to be doing more acrobatic flips on the downslopes at 4x, and I eventually noticed that some of these were being caused by the autopilot briefly hitting the brakes (the brake light would flash...I hadn't noticed it doing that earlier).

As the boys headed further North, the landscape became darker and more ominous... Well, darker, anyway, because of the lower illumination angle of the sunlight at high latitudes. I'm sure Nelemy enjoyed the effect.

After topping another ridge at over 14,270 meters, the rover entered a shallow depression with a relative light object visible on the black landscape.

Aldner: "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with...K!"
Nelemy: "Dude...I see it, and I don't like it."
Aldner: "You don't want to visit the Kraken?"
Nelemy: "No."
Aldner: "You know... That Radiography Rover over there has its food lockers packed with snacks that nobody's been eating yet."
Nelemy: "... Dude. OK...maybe it would be OK to get a little closer. For a while."

Aldner: "Aldner calling Thompbles. Come in, Fearless Leader."
Thompbles: "I read you, Aldner. What can I do for you?"
Aldner: "I just wanted to verify that the X-ray Source Rover has been deactivated."
Thompbles: "Roger. I finished the high-res scans last week. The XRS rover has been safed. Final X-rays confirm that the patient is still dead."
Aldner: "Thank you, Doctor T."

Aldner: "Aldner calling Gobin Pit Base. Come in, Hawk."
Emilynn: "I hear you, Buzz. What's up?"
Aldner: "We have arrived at the Kraken's lair. It hasn't eaten Nelemy yet, so it's probably safe to bring the camping equipment and set up shop."
Emilynn: "Roger, Buzz. We're on our way."

Emilynn boosted the Base Lander North, giving it a good, high lob to be sure to pass over the north rim of Goblin Crater. Very little lateral adjustment was needed.

The initial landing spot of the Base Lander was over 800 meters away from the Kraken, so Emily did a short hop over to place the Lander less that 200 meters away from the Kraken. The big hop to Kraken Depression, followed by the small hop closer to the Kraken, used about 17% of the Lander's initial fuel load. It ended up at an elevation of 13,949 meters.

The X-ray sensor arrays of the Radiography Fido were folded up, and the various rovers were repositioned to provide lighting of the Kraken Corpse from all angles. Then Hellou, Aldner, and Emilyn started examining the Kraken in detail and performing various experiments on the creature. Nelemy refused to touch the thing.

Below, Aldner examines the detached eyeball while Hellou studies the empty eye socket.

Below, Hellou examines the other eye. She certainly seems to be having a fun time doing Kraken SCIENCE!

Nelemy took care of reconfiguring the Radiography Fido. First he opened up the two Goo canisters. The Goo were vibrating wildly...whether from excitement or fear, who can know?

Nelemy then jettisoned the high-mast X-ray detector array, which went tumbling end over end off to the North. The he jettisoned the low X-ray detector array (with the attached Goo canisters), which fell straight down.

Because the low-array module ended up between the right-side rover wheels, Nelemy used the RCS system to boost the Fido up and sideways a little. The Goo canisters were facing the ground, so he used his head again and got a running rocket-pack start to bump into the module and flip it over so that the Goos could get a better look around. Now the team had two Fido rovers for exploring the surface of Bop.

Below, Emilynn examines the Science Probe that Thomples had left by the Kraken on his mission here 13 years ago.

Emilynn: "What do you suppose happened to the other science package Thompbles left here? I've searched the area, and there's no way it's hidden in a crater or anything."
Nelemy: "What? There's supposed to be another one?"
Aldner: "Well, we know Krakens apparently like to eat space hardware. Maybe another Kraken came by here and ate the other probe."
Nelemy: "Dudes... We should leave."
Hellou: "KSC lost the signal from that other probe over ten years ago, so the other Kraken must have left this area long ago. Probably. Maybe."
Aldner: "Unless it comes to vist this spot regularly."
Nelemy: "Dudes...you ain't helping."

But let's leave our four intrepid explorers to their Bop business while we see what else is going on in outer space. Hopefully they'll still be there when we get back.


New Crew: Laythe Landings

Before we get to the New Crew arriving at Laythe, there were some routine midcourse maneuvers to be taken care up (these happened a few weeks ago while the above explorations were going on).

First, a Double-Tug returning to Kerbin needed to do a plane shift burn, and then some tiny tweaks with RCS to target it toward an aerocapture later at Kerbin. Then a few days later, the Mallard seaplane payload enroute to the Jool system needed a plane shift and fine targeting tweaks for its eventual aerocapture at Laythe. And finally, another Double-Tug enroute to Kerbin needed similar maneuvers. Thank goodness for Kerbal Alarm Clock.

And then the New Crew in the Laythe Base 5 ship came falling into the Jool system. I snuck them across the SOI border at 1x so that their targeting for aerocapture at Laythe stayed intact.

Corfrey: "Laythe Base 5 Ship calling Laythe Control."
Thompbles: "Laythe Control here. Thompbles speaking. Welcome to the Jool system."
Corfrey: "Hi, Commander Thompbles. Corfrey Kerman here. We've completed targeting for aerocapture at Laythe. Please confirm our trajectory figures."
Thompbles: "The data link is already established and the numbers look good. Aerocapture target altitude 26.3 kilometers."

The vehicle's trajectory intersected Laythe's orbit at a near-perfect tangent, so the encounter velocity was low and the flames during aerocapture were minimal.

The ship was captured into a high-apoapsis orbit first so that the small adjustment to an equatorial orbit required less fuel. Then a couple aerobraking passes were used to drop the ship into a low orbit. Finally, a prograde burn raised the periapsis out of the atmosphere, and the ship was in an 80 by 120 km orbit that intersected with the orbit of the Laythe Space Station.

Nedmy: "Laythe Control, this is Nedmy Kerman. I have my ship in parking orbit. I'll be coming down first with Corfrey. We'll be taking one of our Hab Module ships to Laythe Station to get a spaceplane for landing."
Thompbles: "Roger, Commander Nedmy. Use Station docking port Tier 2 - 90."
Nedmy: "Roger."

Nedmy Kerman and Corfrey Kerman separated one of the Laythe Transfer Habs and one Tug from the big ship...and then the big ship was moved off to the side so that the Tug could dock to the Hab Module.

Below, the remainder of the big ship as seen out of the control cabin window by Chief Pilot Corfrey Kerman.

Corfrey maneuvered the Hab Ship 1 for a rendezvous with Laythe Station, then docked it to the open docking port assigned to them. This was very laggy...so I'm glad they are soon going to remove one of the spaceplanes from the structure.

Nedmy chose the Raptor RAPIER-powered spaceplane for their descent, and Corfrey transferred to the cockpit while Nedmy transferred to the rear cabin. Then they separated from the Station and moved off to perform reentry maneuvers. Corfrey helped test the Laythe spaceplanes back at Kerbin, so he is very familiar with them.

The retro-burn below was over the night side, but the Raptor was illuminated by the lights of the nearby Space Station. Then we see Jool-rise as the spaceplane passes over Jebediah Island on its descent trajectory.

The Raptor was coming in a little high and a bit South of the Laythe Base area, but Corfrey put the plane into a steep bank and landed without having to use the engines.

Corfrey: "Touchdown."
Kurt: "Welcome to Laythe, Corfrey. Use your rollout to get as close to the Laythe Base 1 module as you can. If necessary, I have a rover that can tow you. If you can, park it with a clear shot for takeoff bearing 135 degrees."
Corfrey: "Hey there Kurt! Long time, no see. The plane is rolling well...I should be able to park it close."
Kurt: "Roger. I'll send the Fido rover over via remote control once you stop. You can use that to drive over to Laythe Base 2."

And, indeed, Corfrey was able to park the Raptor close to the Base 1 module, facing 135° without using any engine push or requiring towing. Corfrey and Nedmy got out of the Raptor to board the Fido that Kurt provided.

Corfrey and Nedmy drove the Fido over to Laythe Base 2 where Thompbles got out to meet them.

Nedmy: "Commander Thompbles, I have arrived to assume command of Laythe Base and Jool System Operations, as per orders of KSC Mission Control."
Thompbles: "Commander Nedmy, I pass command to you. Welcome to Laythe, Ned."
Nedmy: "Good to be here, Thom. And great to see you again after all these years."
Thompbles: "It's a fine operation, Ned. I wish you the best of luck running it. What are your first orders, Commander Nedmy?"
Nedmy: "Continue handling space control for now. Bring my other boys down safely."
Thompbles: "Will do. Let me show you to your Command Module."

Back up in orbit, Merfred Kerman and Rodmy Kerman transferred to Laythe Transfer Hab 2 (or, actually, they just stayed in Hab 2 while Tomster and Henrey Kerman transferred over into the Laythe Base 5 module where Dansen and Lembart were already waiting). Merfred separated the Hab2 Module and one Tug, then Dansen maneuvered the remainder of the ship off to the side via RCS. Then the Tug was docked to the Hab 2 module.

Under Thompbles direction, Merfred maneuvered the Hab 2 off to rendezvous with Laythe Space Station for docking at port Tier 1 - 45.

Man, this docking was painfully laggy. But all went well eventually.

Merfred transferred over to the cockpit of the Ladyhawk spaceplane, while Rodmy transferred to its rear cabin. Then he separated the spaceplane from the Station.

Merfred: "Hmmm. Looks like we have a problem, Rodmy. The four Rockomax 48-7S motors don't seem to want to activate. Check the settings on the engineering panel back there."
Rodmy: "Looks like control 1 is supposed to toggle the turbojet on/off, and control two is supposed to toggle the four rocket motors on/off."
Merfred: "Yep. The turbojet toggle is working, but control 2 is NOT toggling the rocket engines."
Rodmy: "Maybe a different switch? No...the notes here say switch 2. Maybe something got messed up with the control programming when the plane's systems were interfaced with the Station? Can't you manually activate the rocket engines?"
Merfred: "Sure. I'm doing that now. But if we ever want to fly this baby back to orbit, we'll need rapid, simultaneous switching on those engines. This will work for now, but remember that we need to fix the control system sometime on the surface. OK, I'm ready for retro maneuver. Are you all strapped in?"
Rodmy: "All set."
Merfred: "How about Jeannie?"
Rodmy: "Her bottle is safely stowed. Let's burn."

Retro burn was fine, and then Merfred manually deactivated the rocket engines one at a time before entry. Reentry went well, but they were coming in a little short, so Merfred goosed the plane a little with the Turbojet, then landed perfectly.

Merfred: "Allright. Wheels stop. Lined up perfectly at bearing 135, about one third the distance from Base 1 Module that Corfrey managed. Who's the hot pilot now? OK...all systems safed. Let's get out and make some footprints."
Rodmy: "I'm already on the ladder. There's a rover coming."
Merfred: "A welcoming committee! The natives really are friendly."
Kurt: "Greetings, boys. Welcome to our corner of space. All the sand you can eat."
Rodmy: "Hey there, Kurt! Nice to see you again. You know this guy who thinks he's such a hot pilot, right?"
Kurt: "Sure...How's it going, Merf? I see you have your decorative bottle, Rodmy."
Rodmy: "Like always. Um...Merfred knows about Jeannie."
Kurt: "Indeed? Well, boys, how about we spend the night here in Laythe Base 1. It still works great, and it's more private. The rest of your crew's descent has been put off until tomorrow when we'll have better lighting. I'll be ready with this rover to pick them up if something breaks on their Base module...you can ride along."

The next day, Dansen Kerman separated the Laythe Base 5 from the final Tug in preparation of Laythe entry and landing. Dansen was joined in the control module by Lembart Kerman, while the scientist-astronauts Tomster and Henry were below in the Hitchhiker module.

The heat shield and the triple-tug adapter are one unit, so those parts will be deorbited along with the Base and dropped as debris. The three Rockomax X200-8 Fuel Tanks were empty except for the small amount of fuel needed for retro burn in the center tank. Thompbles provided a landing vector that would bring the ship in to the South of the facilities already on the surface, just to be sure the heat shield debris wouldn't hit anything valuable. The retro burn by the four 24-77 engines was perfectly on target.

After the entry flames dissipated, the heat shield assembly was dropped at 7,400 meters.

Two drogue chutes slowed the Base 5 module, and then the eight main parachutes were deployed in reefed condition. The imapct of the heat-shield/triple-tug-adapter unit can be seen in the right image:

The main chutes deployed fully at 500 meters, and the Base floated down at 7.8 m/s, about 800 meters West of the impact point of their heat shield. The four landing legs were deployed to take the brunt of the landing force to protect the wheels...

...but three of the wheels blew on landing, anyway.

None of the wheels were actually damaged, so Dansen Kerman (who had been the first kerbal to land on Laythe, many years ago...and the kerbal whom Dansen Island is named after) somewhat unceremoniously set foot upon the surface of Laythe for a second time...so that he could fix some flat tires.

With the wheels fixed, Dansen retracted the landing legs and started driving the Laythe Base 5 vehicle East along the surface. It handled quite well in the gently rolling land around Fido Bay.

Lembart: "Object ahead. 400 meters."
Dansen: "Looks like our heat shield. Let's see what's left of it."
Lembart: "Wow. Will you look at that. It survived almost completely intact. Just a few of the angled panels exploded."
Dansen: "Those tanks might come in handy. I could use some extra water storage for my greenhouses."

A while later, the Refueling Fido drove up parallel to the Base 5.

Merfred: "Hey, you weenies want to drag? Let's see what that hot rod of yours has got."
Dansen: "Hi, Merfred. No, I don't think it would be a fair race...you've got twice as many wheels as we do."
Kurt: "OK, it looks like you guys are roving fine and don't need any rescuing, so we'll go on ahead to Base 2."

So Merfred gunned the throttle, and he and Kurt and Rodmy zoomed on ahead."

Lembart: "Another object ahead."
Dansen: "Ah. The double-tall GasStation."
Lembart: "For a mostly empty world, there does seem to be a lot of stuff sitting around."

Finally, the Base 5 rover got to the nearly identical Laythe Base 2. Dansen lined up the docking ports in preparation for linking the two Base modules together so that they could share consumables. The two landing legs on one end of Base 2 had to be raised to bring its docking port down a little to the same level.

It took multiple attempts to get the approach just right. And when the bases finally did dock, there was a strange jerk that caused the two far wheels of Base 5 to blow. Huh. The landing legs were lowered to firmly stabilize the modules, and Dansen again got out to fix the wheels.

The crew spent a couple hours unpacking the boxes of supplies that filled most of the open space in the two side hab modules of Base 5 (hauling them out to the two sheds behind the Base). Then they lined up for a group photo of ten kerbals on the surface of Laythe:

Left: Tomster, Henry, Corfrey, and Commander Nedmy. Center: Thompbles and Kurt. Right: Dansen, Lembart, Merfred, and Rodmy.

Then, of course, they had a Welcome To Laythe Party that couldn't be beat.

Next Episode: The Pol Project begins.