A Manned Mission to Mun – From Ignorance to Enlightenment via Fear: Part Six
During the approach we here at Daytripper II Mission Control scrutinized the picture feed, looking for the perfect landing spot, and one location stood out immediately. Right at the center of the enormous Crater Oundray lies Mons Igbay, the peak left behind after the violent impact that caused Crater Oundray’s formation some time in the distant past, literally years ago. The West face of Mons Igbay has a nice gentle slope so we thought it would make for some nice pictures to have the probe land there.
The barometer on the probe gave us the disappointing result during approach that Mun has no atmosphere, so aerobraking wasn’t possible and the parachute we packed turned out to be a waste. The Munar Bus Assembly (MBA) ran out of fuel and was jettisoned to crash to the surface below, and Daytripper II switched to descent rockets for braking. As you can see from the attached diagram, the probe fell short – braking to slow ground speed accelerates the descent and changes our landing zone. Orbital mechanics is hard!
It turns out that the lander probe didn’t quite have enough fuel in the tanks to bring it to a nice soft landing, and the probe is currently scattered across about 3km of regolith. Oh well, we live and learn. Speaking of living, the next launch is the manned Mun-shot we’ve been building up to, and we probably have enough experience from this fiasco to give them a chance of survival, and maybe even a slim chance of returning to Kerbin!