Page 1 of 4 123 Last
Results 1 to 15 of 58

Thread: "X Marks The Spot" - A leisurely circumnavigation of Enceladus

  1. #1

    "X Marks The Spot" - A leisurely circumnavigation of Enceladus

    After taking a look at my bucket list of things yet to do in Elite, I've been inspired by cmdr Alec Turner and his recent circumnavigation of a planet for charity to write off one the most prominent entries on it, sitting just between "Find something to blame T.j. for" and "Reach Beagle Point in an E-rated sidewinder. No scanner, eco route"...and that is (you'd never guess, eh):

    - Circumnavigate a planet/moon in the SRV

    The Elite galaxy offers us an overwhelming deal of planets and moons, of every size and composition, full of awesome, varied landscapes and cosmic vistas. Celestial bodies sporting enormous craters, huge canyons, cliffs, valleys, orbiting binary or trinary star systems, dwarf/neutron stars, bathed in eerie, alien lights, you name it.

    And then there's Enceladus. Rather smooth surface, rather unremarkable land features, rather annoying icy surface full of small rocks and boulders at every step, orbiting a gas giant surrounded by a glorious ring system that given Enceladus' orbit, almost perfectly aligned on Saturn's equator, comes down to a rather invisible thin line when seen from its surface.

    So why in the galaxy did I choose to embark on a full trip around such a boring ball of rock and ice? Hell if I know, but I have more or less 1600 km of road ahead to ponder the errors of my way.
    Who knows, along these 1600 km I might still make interesting encounters, or stumble across some interesting features after all. That E ring around Saturn doesn't create it on itself, there have to be ice and water jets somewhere! (yes I already know there are indeed some and their positions should be well known by now, but please be kind with my empty fantasies, would you?).
    More so, yes it's dull, but it's also not some unknown Eol Prou WW-HG211-L, Synuefe 88-F-KJHAD or HECK-TH-ATIS-FFSAKE-7B. It's Enceladus. Motherckufing Enceladus, orbiting big frickin' Saturn. That's VIP stuff over there.

    Formalities aside, let's get down (literally) to business:

    - First thing I needed was a place where to start my trip: as already explained, Enceladus is a bit lacking on peculiar or distinguishable land features, but there are some nonetheless. What better place to put an X on a map, than already finding a huge X put in place for you by mareal forces over millions of years:


    A downside of using the big X as a point of reference and a straight polar route, is that being Enceladus tidally locked in its orbit around Saturn, the ringed giant will appear to be static in a fixed point of the sky. Unfortunately, that fixed point in the sky happens to be just a little below the horizon eastward of my route, so no big majestic views of the mighty planet along my ride, but I'll have it watching over my shoulder the entire time.

    - On trajectory for my elected starting point in my reliable do-it-all Python Doorstopper Almighty, unfathomable Saturn looming in the background. Can almost hear Gyorgy Ligeti's "Requiem" resonating from the ship's frame:


    From there it will be an easy ride to the north pole following 0 bearing, then an equally easy ride on the other side heading 180, back to my very big, very easy to find X. Easy to find from orbit at least, it's a very shallow slope when on the ground:

    The intial lat/long coordinates will help me to know when I'll be back at my starting point anyway.

    The Scarab doing the undertaking will be of course my trusty "The Tumbling Initiative" of Buckyball fame, now sporting a full gold-plated livery for 780% added weight, but 18*10^8% more cool factor:


    - Starting odometer value: check. Repair mats reserves: check. Refuel mats reserves: check. Sanity check: heck.


    ________________________________________________

    And off I depart in the black!

    - "Following the light of the sun we left the old world". So poignant, so moving, my eyes filled up with tears. My mouth, my nose, my ears, everything full of tears. Turned up I didn't properly start life support, cabin condensation is an ugly b*tch.


    - Enceladus may be a barren flat place, but at least I shouldn't ever find myself short of materials to help in my voyage:


    - See? It's not so devoid of activity after all, not even 20 km in my trip and this appears on the (near) horizon: friend or foe?


    Friend luckily, still wouldn't have wanted to mess with the array of turrets and sentry drones displayed. Bonus drone photobombing:


    - Saturn peek out from behind the horizon, a tiny sliver of light indicating we are a good way from daylight yet, the ring plane discernible just left of M33 (Triangulum Galaxy):


    - Another shallow ridge passed, another chance encounter: a stack of containers left there by someone with no intention of giving them out easily, given the display of drones guarding it. This particular specimen has "Don't mess with me" written all over it:


    - The road ends on the 40th parallel for today, just a quick 40 minutes, 50 km leg to get the trip going. Now setting up camp here to spend the night in my comfortable golden cocoon: in a leap of inspiration I'll call this waypoint "Camp Here":


    Alone in the big dark:



    I'll keep the thread updated soon with the next part of my travel: next stop, "Camp There". (sounds thrilling, isn't it?)

  2. #2
    This is brilliant!

    Subscribed.



    P.S. your "Bonus drone photobombing" image is missing.

  3. #3
    Imgur photobombed my photobomb. Should be good now.

  4. #4
    Good luck on your journey!

  5. #5
    Cool. I did his once on a small potato moon closely orbiting a star out in deep space. Drove all the way around the equator just for the kicks of it. Sometimes you really come across interesting and challenging terrain! I'd like to do this someday in the bubble where there are POI's to come across. Maybe take a T9 and just drive my SRV around a planet salvaging everything I can until my cargo hold is full, lol.


    Drive safe commander!

  6. #6
    Originally Posted by Mengy View Post (Source)
    Cool. I did his once on a small potato moon closely orbiting a star out in deep space. Drove all the way around the equator just for the kicks of it.
    Hey mengy, did you record any evidence of your adventure (a write-up, screenshots or video?). If so then why not submit your application to join the Planetary Circumnavigation Club?



    Click on the club logo above, let me have some details of your circumnavigation and I'll add you to the list.

  7. #7
    A quick update, safely reached "Camp There" after another 150 km of annoyingly placed boulders. And a couple canyons. And other stuff. The landscape appears to be not so dull after all, I'm extremely lucky the Tumbling Initiative is still in one piece and safely parked for the night...I have to be more careful than I've been today if I want to reach the north pole, not even mentioning arriving back at the X canyon.

    Full update hopefully coming tomorrow morning.

  8. #8
    Day 2 - From "Camp Here" to "Camp There"


    - The day started...at night, again. Judging from the changing phase on Saturn, still some hours before I can bask in the light of Sol Invictus. My brief stay at the 40 parallel has been full of wonders and exciting adventures, up to the point when I hit the snooze and woke up in the same barren plain I left the day/night before. Time for a healthy breakfast made of crackers and regrets, then back on the road to the north pole:


    - The blinking of a beacon suddenly appears behind a small elevation, didn't even notice it at first on the scanner. Whoever left that beacon there also took measures to protect it, whatever its secret may be it's none of my business, I have a mission to accomplish and I'm also in a bad mood for exploration. Those crackers sucked.


    I give throttle again intending to go past the beacon at a safe distance, when a sudden flash in the sky and a muffled thump from the cabin's acoustic awareness system notifies me of a ship just jumping in, right above the beacon...not a good feeling, looks like something is going on and I shouldn't be supposed to be here...


    False alarm, it appears that some Beluga tourist liner decided to give passengers the ride of their life with a low pass over the wonders of Enceladus...they must have been some very low-paying passengers to deserve that. I feel relieved and go ahead on my journey...

    ...a journey full of mistery, wonders, and unmitigated swearing:



    - That large canyon some kilometers north of Camp Here, appearing so shallow when viewed from orbit, revealed itself to be not so flat and easy to traverse as expected:


    Sometimes it's easy to forget the real scale of things. "Potato moon"....and mite-sized explorers:


    - Being the careful and cautious explorer that I am, I decide to approach the many mounds and crevices in the most sensible manner:

    Yeeeeeeeeeee!

    (This attitude will soon lead me to a close encounter of the brown kind with an embarassing demise, more on this later...)

    - It's the innate spirit of the human race, the inner instinct that moves each and every of our endeavours since the dawn of time: the urge to dive into the unknown, the urge to explore, the urge to dare. The urge to litter.

    Out of the canyon finally, and almost out of existence minutes later. I forgot how easy it was to gain speed on a more plain surface apparently, but the more plain surface promptly reminded me of the transience of our existence:



    Now, that was close. CLOSE. Arms still trembling and feeling dizzy, I stand there and try to recompose myself. And also take the chance for some sightseeing over the horizon:


    - I regain my cool and decide to travel another bit before settling for the night (or day, whatever); the "another bit" becomes a good stretch of land, and after traversing a large swat of elevated and relatively easy ground I finally find myself at the rough bottom of a large basin, not too far from my next destination (the pole). Another 170 km under the belt, but I spent far more repairing materials than I hoped for. Time to stop for some rest in the tiny, comfy SRV-sized dip in the ground I just named "Camp There".


    I'll keep the headlights on for a bit, they double as reading light for a bit or relax before sleep. Currently reading "Crochet, kite surf and raising llamas: a brief guide"

    Next update as soon as I hit the snooze enough times.

  9. #9
    This is gripping stuff Aken! I believe the words that quite literally escaped my mouth as I was watching the very close call video were ... "Aiiiiiiighhh! Je-zus Christ Dude!" (apologies for the blasphemy but there it is).

    Really enjoying reading these. I might try and hook up with you one evening this week.

    Godspeed you crazy heroic fool, I'll try and save some Dav's Hope mat's for you!

  10. #10
    Yikes, that was close!

    Quick tip though: SRV thrusters always make you go up, even if you're upside down at the time. If you're tumbling out of control, use every last scrap of it to buy time to reorient! (I noticed you stopped boosting early, and at the Critical Moment actually had a full ENG bar).

    Also why it's prudent to try to keep some reserve in the tank whenever on/near the ground, Just In Case.

  11. #11
    Originally Posted by Alec Turner View Post (Source)
    Hey mengy, did you record any evidence of your adventure (a write-up, screenshots or video?). If so then why not submit your application to join the Planetary Circumnavigation Club?

    https://i.imgur.com/fQzU9b4.png

    Click on the club logo above, let me have some details of your circumnavigation and I'll add you to the list.
    I probably have a few screenshots from the drive, but I didn't document it or anything. It was out somewhere near the H&S Nebula, I'd have to search my pics to find it. That's a nice link though, I'll look into it! If I can't find pics to verify it then I might just do another planet to submit, because honestly I found it kind of fun.

  12. #12
    Originally Posted by SushiCW View Post (Source)
    Quick tip though: SRV thrusters always make you go up, even if you're upside down at the time. If you're tumbling out of control, use every last scrap of it to buy time to reorient! (I noticed you stopped boosting early, and at the Critical Moment actually had a full ENG bar).

    Also why it's prudent to try to keep some reserve in the tank whenever on/near the ground, Just In Case.
    You don't need to teach me things I already know...that is, because you already gave me the same advice some time ago, and I'll never thank you enough for that, it has been a life saver on more than one occasion! That was a totally counter-intuitive trick and something I'd probably never discover on my own, so again kudos and thank you for that.

    If you refer to the part after I started repairing, when I impacted the second time while upside down, I actually tried to boost but the button didn't register the input, it's something the throttle has started developing this late summer, sometimes it fails to work when pressing it too lightly or too fast repeatedly (this was the second case, I was in full panic mode), perfectly ok on steady presses though. Doesn't come as a surprise, it's the top thumb button that I assigned to ship and srv boost, compared to the others it has been literally ravaged due to my peculiar career as a cmdr.

    Originally Posted by Alec Turner View Post (Source)
    I believe the words that quite literally escaped my mouth as I was watching the very close call video were ... "Aiiiiiiighhh! Je-zus Christ Dude!" (apologies for the blasphemy but there it is).
    What a coincidence, what escaped my mouth at the time was Heavens related too!
    If I had mic recording enabled (a suffering I wouldn't inflict upon my most loathed enemy), the actual transcript would read something like "Noo no no nonononodiodiodiodio dioOOO! Huuuuu!" (translation should not be required ). A nerve-wracking moment for sure, but it also made my evening. So much for "no gameplay on planets".

    Day 3 of my expedition has been postponed a bit due to RL, looks like I'll keep hitting the snooze of my SRV alarm clock until tomorrow evening at the very least. Thread updates ASAP.

  13. #13
    Originally Posted by AkenBosch View Post (Source)

    If you refer to the part after I started repairing, when I impacted the second time while upside down, I actually tried to boost but the button didn't register the input, it's something the throttle has started developing this late summer, sometimes it fails to work when pressing it too lightly or too fast repeatedly (this was the second case, I was in full panic mode), perfectly ok on steady presses though. Doesn't come as a surprise, it's the top thumb button that I assigned to ship and srv boost, compared to the others it has been literally ravaged due to my peculiar career as a cmdr.
    That makes the story even more awesome. I'm now imagining it went something sort of like this:


  14. #14
    Originally Posted by AkenBosch View Post (Source)
    Day 3 of my expedition has been postponed a bit due to RL, looks like I'll keep hitting the snooze of my SRV alarm clock until tomorrow evening at the very least. Thread updates ASAP.
    Doh! Looks like I picked the wrong night to come and find you.



    That was taken pretty much on the 'X'. I then drove about 30km North, following your route. Nice, good choice of planet!

  15. #15
    Originally Posted by SushiCW View Post (Source)
    That makes the story even more awesome. I'm now imagining it went something sort of like this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojPLwt0hfbY
    Oh my, that's so relevant it gave me anxiety!

    At the moment it's still pretty much manageable, I just it doesn't get worse too fast...one thing has to be said, these Hotas X's can take a lot of punishment for the price...the Logitech Extreme would have been in pieces by now...

    Originally Posted by Alec Turner View Post (Source)
    Doh! Looks like I picked the wrong night to come and find you.

    https://i.imgur.com/GdjP5y1.png

    That was taken pretty much on the 'X'. I then drove about 30km North, following your route. Nice, good choice of planet!
    Whoops, sorry! I'd really like to have a schedule for my available time, but it's a luxury I can't afford given my current life. On average, I'm online either the evenings from 20:30-21:00 to 23:00 (server time), or sometimes the morning from 10:00-30 to 12:00, but always depending on my SO free time schedule (priorities )...I should be in game this evening but no promises...I'll gladly accept some company on my way to "Camp Everywhere".

Page 1 of 4 123 Last