Here are some insights into my adventures in Kerbal Space Program. Learning curves and crashes create cool crafts.
Anyone else a Kerbal Space Program fan? I discovered KSP around 2014 when it was in a pre-vanilla state, and had a rich mod culture backing it up. I became kind of obsessed with single stage to orbit spaceplanes, and designed a little experimental fleet of animal inspired spaceplanes.
I held my designs to using electric and ion thrusters, and eventually got into VTOL and Munar (Moon) lander designs. This craft is not that though.
The Electric Moth: This craft has four conventional electric engines, and one hydrogen fed ion thruster, and is great in atmosphere and orbit capable. Shutting conventional intake apertures at the cusp of atmosphere breach is necessary, but the Hydrogen-Ion thruster takes over seamlessly and allows the plane to carry on to a range of flexible orbits. It will make it to, and touch down on the Mun (Moon) but is not great at it.
This plane was one of the earliest designs I made. I designed it loosely after the form of a moth. The winglets on top of the cockpit are not necessary or practical, but are thematic and adorable. They also only helped the flight profile so I kept them. This plane is an absolute thrill to fly. It flexes but doesn't break, and can pull all sorts of acrobatics. It has four strong landing apparatuses that are wide set for rough field landings. I landed it all over Kerbin (Earth). The Hydrogen Ion thruster allows the E-Moth to achieve stable orbit, and though the plane is not particularly fast, it is brilliantly maneuverable and just fun to fly.
I was running this game on an old laptop, with a heavily modded (mostly parts) pre-vanilla Kerbal Space Program, and yes it ran this choppy. I am a little embarrassed to upload these videos because of the lag, but also want to share these old designs. Maybe they'll inspire someone else.
These are some tracks I put together ranging from when I was 17-20 rounds on Earth.
I was using only Cakewalk Kinetic to orchestrate then so they are really choppy and synthy, but upon listening back on these tracks there is some good stuff woven in there.
These never made it to my soundcloud.com/nja page, but I may upload them there now.
Until then, have a listen and let me know what you think.
Recently I began seeing these amazing, dimensional animated drawings on social media. I came to find out about a fairly new app called Mental Canvas and after a bit of research and tutorial viewing, I knew I had to give it a try. This piece was not drawn with this in mind, but I used it as an experimental first go at the software. It adapted fairly well as I got to know the tools within the software, and I love seeing a simple drawing jump off of the page. I am excited to work in Mental Canvas and explore the space. You'll see the Mental Canvas logo in the corner of the video as I am using the free version of the software.
If you are an artist of some kind, I would suggest giving it a look and seeing if it is something that might light a little inspiration in you.
I am entirely fascinated by the Earth/Lunar relationship, and long have been fascinated by the thought of bounding along the lunar surface to explore. The more I research about the Earth’s moon, the more I find it to be precious and sacred, especially in regard to it’s tidal and gravitational effect on the planet where we hail from. The differences between the two astral bodies is stark, yet they exist as a symbiosis that prolongs both of there time in space, and ours. The Earth has many defenses against the perils of space travel, the moon to keep it stable along the ever fluxing journey, is one of them. Without the Earth, the small silver orb would likely be swallowed by the local star, or perhaps be adopted as another lunar companion by one of Earth’s siblings like Jupiter.
By defenses against space travel, I mean Earth generates it’s own Electro-Magnetic field to shield the many precious species housed on and within it’s skin from the constant threat of radiation. A somewhat dense atmosphere shields yet more radiation and helps to burn up incoming projectiles by slowing them with atmospheric friction. Large oceans of liquid absorb vast amounts of solar energy acting as heat sinks so the rest of the planet’s ecosystem does not have to bear the effects as directly. Finally one of the most important defenses the Earth has it’s its liquid core, and the hydraulic dispersion and absorption mechanics of a it’s tectonic mantle.
The planet we live on is an incredible being, miraculous by every definition we have thus far generated or observed. The Earth’s companion body, is in my belief, much more fragile and susceptible to damages than generally regarded. Damages we are now more able than ever to inflict upon it.
By observing human history, and the destructive nature of human business conducted at unrelenting pace, I have great concern for our near future interactions with the Moon. Treating our interactions with the overtly risky mentality of the “Space Race” is in my cautious mind, a mistake. The Moon does not have tectonic flexibility to absorb haphazard impacts like the Earth does. Granted, it has been crashed into time and time again by meteors and other debris, and we cannot yet control or defend it against those things. We can however protect the earth’s gravitational counterweight from our own actions.
My two main concerns are with human mining practices, and minor (or major) orbital trajectory alterations. Theoretically the Moon is like a titanium coated crystal. Though Texas sized plates of titanium on the lunar surface will hold up against massive impacts from meteorites, that sturdy shell may be compromised once human mining efforts have generated fissures in the hard but brittle material. Titanium is very hard, but once it cracks, it cracks in severe ways. We still don’t “officially” know what the subsurface of the moon, or it’s core are comprised of or how it is structured. In theory the resonating effects of previous lunar landings inform us of a specifically tuned mineral structure. This kind of structure can be very strong, unless one component of that structure is altered, or if the right (or wrong) resonant frequency is introduced to it. Perhaps it is not entirely crystalline or metallic, and will allow us to bore within without causing too much damage to the overall structure of the sphere. We don’t yet know, or don’t yet “officially” know. The point is, let’s not plan or invest in too much lunar industrialization until we know. We need greater survey data and public transparency surrounding the Earth’s moon before we turn it into a mining hub, in my opinion.
I am not the only one however. There are many indigenous cultures and visionaries that have relayed visions of the moon being fractured. There are also many depictions of this horrible possibility in science fiction, so the caution exists already. I would simply like to reiterate the necessity for caution in the upcoming years as humanity accelerates it’s ventures to the nearest extraterrestrial body.
Personally, I think mining in space should be directed toward the nearest asteroid fields, though I recognize and acknowledge the inherent difficulties that come with that prospect. I still see it as preferable to the risks we pose to the moon with our historically and contemporarily horrible industrial practices. Our disregard for the well being of our own home world is asinine as it is, but the Earth is regenerative. Applying this same careless, “profit first” mentality to the Moon is utterly unwise. It may lead to rapid unrepairable disaster. Losing a thousand year old redwood is tragic enough, but watching the Moon split into pieces is something we must do all we can to prevent.
Let us posit the hypothetical that the moon is indeed structurally sound enough to withstand a limited amount of human mining. There is also the possibility of our impacts and interactions offsetting the actual placement of the Moon relative to the Earth. Though we may not have a broad enough observatory perception to fully track these potentially minor alterations, every interaction does indeed generate a reaction. Even a minor alteration of the Lunar trajectory, would likely have significant impact on the tidal “regularity” here on Earth. We are definitely not prepared for those kinds of changes. Do we have the sensory equipment to track these kinds of changes, and do we have a plan for correcting them if we do impact the orbital relationship? Does that plan include just running into the moon more in order to shove it back to where it was, compensating for the exponential alterations made in it’s path of motion since the initial offset?
It all sounds a bit like the kids that thought it would be fun to play baseball inside, even though Mom told them not to, and then the window breaks. Let’s not hurry to make these kinds of mistakes. Make industry wait very patiently, while we gently survey the Lunar surface and inner structure first.
Again I reiterate, that asteroid mining poses less direct risk to the planet Earth. We may lose some un-piloted vessels, we may even lose some people. A tragic and ever present risk especially in space travel. However mining asteroids leads to generally less risk of destabilizing our entire path of surviving as a planet.
Another concern I have pondered is the matter of resonant disruption. Human interaction with the Lunar body has proven that the silver orb “rings” or resonates like a bell when impacted. Perhaps the moon really is just a big giant titanium bell. It’s mass suggests otherwise, but it could just be a very thick bell. Maybe it is more like a massive geode, with inward facing crystalline formations within the hardened shell. Crystalline structures often exhibit resonant qualities due to the consistency of their molecular organization. Now consider human mining operations set up on the lunar surface.
Let’s say we don’t notice the impact of just one facility, or we deem it minor enough to continue development. Fifty years later, there are several hundred facilities constantly grinding and rotating, and impacting the Moon. At this point there are generations that have never known another Luna. The industries these facilities feed are given all manner of excuse to continue operation despite growing concerns of mass displacement and the increasing resonant frequency humming throughout the Lunar body. But as we have seen, industry “must” continue to serve the “economy”. An economy that won’t exist if we disrupt this planet’s natural processes enough. However one day, a cargo vessel landing on the Moon experiences an engine failure, and crashes into the humming orb. The impact and explosion of the vessel disrupts the continuous vibration of human Lunar industry, sending a shockwave throughout the crystalline structure of the Moon, that results in massive fractures and a complete dispersal of the moons stable structure. What then?
In essence, my cautionary tale here is that as a species completely reliant on this planet and it’s Lunar gravitational counterweight, we must approach our interactions with the Moon with the utmost care. Personally, I would suggest only low impact and observatory installations. Gently paced survey and exploration of the Lunar body and its interior are sound endeavors. Also scientific study of low gravity impact on Human health, as well as variance of plant growth in lowered gravity are worthy studies. I don’t think mining the Moon is or should be appropriated as a necessary endeavor. Setting our sites for the nearest asteroid concentrations is far more sustainable, and posits immensely less risk to life on Earth. Not that many industries care much for life on Earth, but we, life on Earth… do.
Reef cooling towers
The rapid bleaching of coral reefs on Earth is another in a long list of modern ecological catastrophes. A major contributor to coral bleaching is an average rise in oceanic temperature. Theoretically, to counteract this rise in temperature, self-powered refrigeration towers can be set up in grids within and surrounding reefs to bring local temperatures to optimal conditions for reef health and regeneration.
Above-water portions of the towers will house solar and wind generation devices, as well as service and monitoring panels. Below-water portions will include tidal generators and reinforced shrouding to prevent refrigerant leakage. Each tower will emit a temperature colder than target water temperature, and the cumulative radiating effect of the network of towers will theoretically bring localized water temperature to optimal conditions for coral health. The network of refrigeration nodes will remain in constant communication in order to monitor flux in natural conditions, weather events, and to compensate for towers in need of repair or calibration.
Small platforms and storage capacity above water provide surveyors and field scientists with access to work surfaces, and stored equipment for ongoing experiments and maintenance. Periodic cooling towers (perhaps 1 in 20) within a network of cooling towers, will be equipped with subaquatic observation capsules. These capsules will allow human beings to enter an oxygenated and climate controlled pod to conduct observatory experiments, and as emergency shelter to endure storms.
The experimental technology can be tested in a very small grid, and extended only if positive result is yielded within the climate controlled area of reef. This is a possible local solution to protect critical reef habitats as the overall oceanic temperature continues to rise. This will not necessarily reduce overall oceanic temperatures, but will shield these diverse living areas from the increasingly harsh natural conditions on Earth.
An optional warming ability would aid in combatting any but the most extreme conditional variances. Should some unforeseen cooling event occur in reef restoration areas, the towers would be able to warm the surrounding water in order to maintain stable ambient temperatures and protect the local biome. Coral reefs will still have a myriad of adversities to overcome, like water PH variation due to industrial spills, leaks, and runoff, constant and rampant pollution, the possibility of fallout from nearby warfare, and gross diminishing air quality on Earth. These units would simply be a gentle shield in an effort to guard the biodiversity within and among coral reefs.
The concept is simple, and the towers can be designed in innumerable forms. The more important factors are reliability of onboard systems, durability, and most importantly a positive proof of concept. This is simply a concept generated from personal contemplation. I am not a manufacturer, and have no access to oceanic regeneration labs. This is speculation on a possible solution to a pertinent, contemporary catastrophe.
I encourage those of means and with access to resources to test the concept, and even begin development of such devices. I would love to see more steps taken to protect Earth’s fragile coral reefs.
Artist, designer, musician, writer, craftsman, nature geek...