When we last left our intrepid heroes, they had earned this much SCIENCE!
Oh look, only 70 more SCIENCE! until solar panels! And I just unlocked the Science Jr. module!
The Science Jr. is capable of extracting considerably more SCIENCE! from areas than the Mystery Goo pods 2.5x as much, according to the wiki! This is good news for SCIENCE! collection. Down side is that it’s a bit larger than a Goo pod, so I can only reasonably fit one of them onto my rocket.
A rocket which looks like this
So we get out on the launch pad, and of course, the first thing we do is
you guessed it.
I know, I know, time for the real launch.
Once the first stage burns out, it’s time to grab our first (REAL) record from the Science Jr.
Already we’ve got more science than the last mission. Next up, the goo pods!
And we’ll come back down again. Just for fun, I checked what the other goo pod had to say about atmospheric re-entry.
Hey woah, is the command pod on fire!? Let’s get another look at that!
The pod doesn’t right itself even after I pop the chutes. If anything, it’s even more upside-down
Let’s see what the remaining goo pod has to say about that!
Haven’t made a water landing yet. Let’s see what Jebediah thinks.
Hey while we’re here, let’s take a sample of the water!
Time to collect the EVA and surface samples
and the rest of the rocket
And now we have enough SCIENCE! to afford those sweet, sweet solar panels!
If you’ll excuse me, there’s one last critical piece of tech to grab, and now that I can recharge the batteries without spending precious rocket fuel, it’s time to wring all the SCIENCE! we can out of near-Kerbin space.
You know the drill.
Buy some Flight control
We use this new-found information to build THIS monstrosity!
See, the sun has a LOT of science! To get there, we have to leave Kerbin, past the Mun, past Minmus, out into interplanetary space.
We need a lot of fuel for that.
Fortunately, seven engines throw out a LOT of thrust, so it’s not so hard to circularize the orbit once we’re up.
Come to think of it, this is the first permanent orbit I’ve put anything in since I started this campaign. The down side to seven engines is that they burn a LOT of fuel, and take up a LOT of weight. I’d prefer not to waste fuel if I don’t need to, so I’ll empty out the radial fuel tanks, and dump them.
Now that the mass of the rocket has changed, I’ll need to tap the accelerator so Kerbal Space Program will re-calculate my burn times. I’m down to less than 1/7 of my previous thrust, it would be awkward to miss a shot because I started a burn too late.
Interesting. By happy coincidence, the mass jettisoned just about balances out the thrust lost, meaning this stage is actually 7x as fuel-efficient as it was before I shed the extra weight.
Time to make a bid for escape!
While waiting for my rocket to escape Kerbin, I noticed something. The game was running physics calculations, and the floating-point round-off meant that my projected orbits were being juggled just a little. This alerted me to an interesting opportunity.
Yes, that IS a free flyby of the Mun! Not exactly a guarantee, but I Vincent insisted, so I was able to dial up a more sure one.
Increased the mission time significantly, but the Mun is just chock-full of SCIENCE! I don’t even have to land, and with the new solar panels, there’s no energy budget to worry about.
So I sap the Mun dry.
Unfortunately, this correction burn happens to have put me on a collision course for Kerbin. Fortunately, I can use the Mun’s gravity to help me deflect just a little. By adjusting the time spent in the Mun’s gravitational field, I can push myself into a near flyby of Kerbin, instead of an intimate encounter.
This gives me something of a free Gravity slingshot, and helps reduce the cost of wasted fuel coming back down from the previous escape trajectory, and back into a new one.
Ideal would be if the periapsis was exactly on the night-side. It wasn’t, but the orbit was elongated enough already, it wasn’t a huge issue.
Finally, we leave Kerbin space, and enter true orbit around the Sun.
Look at all that Science!
Between the solar panels replenishing our electricity supply, the Goo pods and Science Jr. and the unplanned Mun flyby, this mission netted a truly absurd amount of SCIENCE!
For bonus points, the probe still has most of that last fuel tank left. That little guy’s mission isn’t over just yet.