While traveling through Odin's hold on what could be called my second exploration trip, I've come across a high metal content world in the system [Phoi Aowsy BN-A d14-10374]. The planet in question was body [AB 1].
What caught my eye on the dark brown surface of it while looking at the body in the full spectrum system scanner where some peculiar yellow spots. Made me curious enough to fly over and inspect them more closely.
Turned out to be quite interesting:
There were a few more of them actually
The planet featured an almost pure, thick and hot water vapour atmosphere and some large-scale silicate volcanism. Since it's very unlikely to be a weather phenomenon judging by the shape of the spots and the composition of the atmosphere, those should be a result of the major silicate vapour geysers reported on the planet. There's probably sulphur being ejected by the volcanoes together with the silicates, as some other commanders [have suggested], resulting in the intense yellow colour.
If only we could get closer to those massive objects, but unfortunately, with that thick atmosphere in the way, we cannot. At least not at the current point in time...
Being as fascinated with high-g landings as I am, I was delighted by FixMeNow's [report] of a 11.01g world!
When I originally read that, I was roughly 12.000Ly away from its position, but it just called to me so much.. So I prepped a few beers and just raced over there like crazy, all in one go.
To the system [Kyloall CL-Y g1518] and its new high-g record holder, body D 1:
Interestingly, all the landable very-high-g planets (≥9g) I've seen now share the same colour and hence probably also have a similar composition.
I contemplated whether it was wise to attempt a landing on such a dangerous world after a total of four beers (ugh...), but in the end I decided to attempt it despite the level of intoxication and the loss of concentration that came with it:
I seems we're reasonably far down here, but that's still 369km of altitude
As per high-g best practices, I kept my ship pointing downwards at a very shallow angle rarely under -5° and refrained from turn or roll manoeuvres, applying course adjustments purely by yaw.
At the end of the glide phase
Things went pretty smoothly, so if you can do it by the book, you can do it by the book even when drunk it seems. To make things a tiny bit more interesting, I had picked a large crater for a landing spot, thinking I'd get higher g-forces at its bottom.
Hovering just 7 metres above ground
Time for setting my arse on the ground:
Once again shieldless and flawless!
Alright, that went perfectly! The only fly in the ointment was that I was under the effect of 10.99g, not the promised 11.01g. Probably because I hadn't picked the polar regions of the planet, where I'd be just a tiny bit close to the center?
Anyway, another high-g world to scratch off my list!
After that, I just left my controls alone and went to sleep. Being just too tired, I couldn't do that one more thing I wanted to do immediately - execute some of the high-g manoeuvres [suggested by GremlinSpotter].
On the next day however, all sober and fresh, I decided to do just that and see how my Dinnerbell (Diamondback Explorer) would behave when doing some less-than-safe things on that planet. And here are the results:
Vertical thrust down (≈1 second):
One full longitudinal roll:
Sharp 180° turn at ≈45° ship inclination:
Flight assist off (≈2 seconds):
What does that tell us? Downwards thrust is safer than expected (at least with this ship), FA off is about as safe as I'd thought it'd be, and turns and rolls are outright deadly!
I got really nervous when I had finished my 180° turn and had noticed just how much speed my vessel had taken up in all the wrong direction: Over 450m/s downwards. Almost 30 kilometres of lost altitude speak for themselves I would say.
Don't do that on high-g worlds, unless you know precisely what it is you're doing. Especially not in a more massive vessel. It's really easy to lose ship and life by trying to have a little fun down there!
Ah right, one more thing, as I'd finally started leaving the planet, after about 20km of flying upwards bringing my ship almost onto the regular surface level of the planet, I finally saw that magic number "11" - it was here that my ship suddenly experienced 11.00g, although I'm not sure why:
I'm telling you, I so want to discover one of those supermassive landable planets myself... Guess I'll have to start surveying systems with class O+B stars.
Uh, it sure didn't help that I'd caught the flu during that exciting time in my explorer career, but anyway.. despite it being a bit of a burden, I managed to drag myself home in yet another single session of just blazing through system after system without even looking left or right.
After all, my high-risk (now it's "high-risk" instead of "throw-away") ship, the Yumeko was still carrying the data from HD 40064 in its databanks. I just had to bring it home as fast as possible.
That moment when I reached civilized space... Usually I don't really care much for it, but this time it was kind of special:
Home, sweet home
I even got nervous passing through the "mail slot" to enter the station, every single manoeuvre executed with great care. So that's what it feels like to bring home something truly precious!
That concludes the exciting adventure that was HD 40064. Oh, and now, after all that, let's provide you with a direct link to the system as well:
In terms of thrill, this whole experience will surely be a hard one to beat. ;)
Following up on the last report, let's not delay things unnecessarily. This is what I had picked up on the galaxy map:
144.46 lightyears... "Too much", right? And in terms of fuel, this was a pointless system, too. Nothing but a white dwarf stellar remnant and an equally useless class T brown dwarf. So no way to scoop fuel there, as I'd need a class O, B, A, F, G, K or M star for that.
Anyway, why not at least look at what my throw-away ship, Yumeko-chan could possibly do:
"Well, if fuel wouldn't weigh anything..." I thought, but thanks to a helpful person called Rudi Baumkraut, I knew that the maximum range would include the fuel necessary for the jump. So at 145.73Ly my actual maximum range was higher than the distance to Pheia Aeg WX-U d2-0 - by a hair's width!
But then I thought, I'd end up there with basically zero fuel left, because I'd need to burn most of what was sitting in my tank to make Yumeko light enough for this jump. But still... I got all het up! I had to try!
First, I attempted to wreck my SRV to save mass:
But unfortunately, that didn't really work out, as it didn't reduce the ship's mass at all. The jump range before and after the scrapping of the vehicle were the same:
With that it had become clear that my only way of reducing mass would be to mindlessly burn fuel by maximizing the power draw from my 2A reactor. I managed to get it to 99% load, drawing 1.48 tons of fuel per hour from my tank. That still meant it would take over 10 hours to get to a level where a jump could be attempted.
I decided to simply go to sleep and let my ship fly aimlessly into empty space at 30km/s minimum FSD speed, burning fuel one drop at a time...
. .. ... .... ..... (this is really taking forever) ...... ..... .... ... .. .
And then I woke up to the ringing of my alarms, set just a bit early for safety. It's been 11 hours since I had started burning hyperspace juice, and now I sat at 143.00Ly of range.
. .. ... .. .
Finally, after almost 14 hours, I reached an effective ship mass low enough to attempt a jump to Pheia Aeg WX-U d2-0.
From there, it could be either death by fuel starvation, or a call to the fuel rats for help.. which my pride would likely not allow me to make anyway, especially since this was all done intentionally. But still, there was a minuscule chance that I'd have just enough fuel to reach a scoopable star from there. With another +100% FSD injection of course.
"Clutching at straws" they call that...
In any case, after spending quite some time in HD 40064, and even growing to like the system, it was finally time to say good bye to my little big star:
Time to attempt the impossible escape! Rarely have I been this on edge!
And that would be my farthest jump without Neutron star boosting, and by a long shot at that!
(This screenshot features blocky artifacts, my apologies for that)
Still quivering a bit, I immediately injected my frame shift drive with another expensive +100% charge. Arsenic be damned, this was no time to save precious resources! A quick glance revealed that the system was indeed without any scoopable stars and also without any planets. Just that white dwarf and a brown dwarf. What a desolate place.
My pulse was at a record high now. There were two potential life-saving stars I had picked for my escape, further down below. I attempted to reach the class A blue-white star in [Pheia Aeg XX-U d2-0] which I thought was closer than the second candidate, a class F white star.
And so came the moment of truth.
Would I be able to reach it? Where the moment when I hit that hyperspace switch to enter HD 40064 was a bit unsettling... now it was just plain nerve-wrecking!
To think I had originally come here to die here.
Well, time for the final gamble:
Heeeh... eheeehehehheheHEHEHEHEELL YEAH!!
Oh.. my.. god. Unbelievable!!!
Aahahaaaa! I made it!!
Oh Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me!
This felt indescribably good! I honestly laughed out loud when I saw and heard the hyperdrive revving up to carry me and my ship to salvation! And then the moment when my 4A fuel scoop started thirstily filling my almost empty tanks from the hydrogen in that star's corona...
An uplifting feeling!
Now, from here, all I needed was a reachable Neutron star a bit further down. I quickly noticed that none were in regular FSD range, but another +25% injection indeed brought one of them into reach. That was the system [Pheia Aeg VM-W d1-0]:
Hellooo, Mr. Neutron Star! I am ∗very∗ happy to see you!
From there I was set! One more Neutron star - now easy to reach - and from there a boosted 265Ly jump down to actual safety!
After that, it took me a few seconds... But then I just sunk into the back rest of my pilot seat, letting the air slowly escape my lungs with pure relief. I had to chuckle to myself a little, thinking that I had thought nothing of self-destruction in HD 40064 when I had left the station in civilized space. And in the end, I went to such lengths to get my arse out of that place... and that sure as hell wasn't good for my heart either. ;)
But I don't mind the feeling I have to admit. What an amazing thrill!!
Seems Yumeko won yet another high-stakes gamble after all!
In this fourth report about HD 40064 I will take a closer look at the planets in the system.
The most interesting seemed to be the second gas giant, with its reddish colour, so I decided to visit that one first:
There's really quite a bit of light coming from the class K0 I supergiant, so there was no image post-processing necessary; The giant planet really looks bright red! Nice.
For my moment of Zen I decided to land on one of its metal-rich moons and gaze upon the large planet and the gigantic ball of fire behind it:
What a view to enjoy, especially when knowing that there is absolutely nothing around that system for many dozens of lightyears...
The next candidate for inspection was the first gas giant in the system, which seemed a bit more boring, or a bit more beige, but larger:
That protuberance over there... I wonder how high up it actually goes, and how much mass the star's ejecting there?
Number three to inspect was the large, ringed high metal content world on the outskirts of the system. I just couldn't hold back and had to play around with its rings for a bit. ;) See here:
Gorgeous! Just wonderful, how the light shines through that ring. When you have nowhere to go anymore, you start to enjoy the little things I guess. ;)
The final body I chose to visit was a small rocky moon orbiting that high metal content world, as it appeared to have some impressive mountain ranges. Surely not he highest in the galaxy, but pretty impressive nonetheless:
Now, as for the final part.
While it was never planned, I could at least look around, right? For a potential way out. When Yumeko makes a high bet, she ain't just gonna fold right away after all.
So I tried and tried on the galaxy map, but nothing seemed even remotely close enough to make a jump there. That was until I found one small, blueish blip I had overlooked before... at quite a staggering distance still.
And it didn't look very inviting either.
What that blip was, and if there is an actual possibility to get out of HD 40064 alive, you will read about that in the next and final report about the red supergiant system.
The time had come. The enigmatic boom of the hyperspace exit, and I had entered the system I had so far only managed to gaze upon from afar:
One of my greater fears was that I would find only the star with no other bodies around. I felt my one-way trip would've been just a bit of a waste in such a case. But fortunately, that was not the case at all! The red supergiant system featured a lot of planets to explore!
That made me quite happy and relieved, actually. So I fired up my full spectrum system scanner, and identified all bodies present in HD 40064:
Alright, we got two class IV gas giants, one large, ringed high metal content world, and a plethora of metal-rich bodies plus a few rocky moons. Not too shabby. Of course, I got no free Neutron star thrown in to get back out of there, but heh... of course not...
I'll explore the system in greater detail in my next report!
Getting back to the base system for my attempt to reach HD 40064 went a bit quicker than my return from there to the bubble, courtesy of a certain frame shift drive booster and reduced ship mass.
I started from the neutron star known as [HIP 25704]:
From here, there was only one way: Up, up, up!
What a nice feeling to get over 270Ly of range with Neutrons... I could've actually stopped at the second Neutron, which was the stepping stone I had originally picked for reaching HD 40064 in my first manual plotting attempt. That was before returning to the bubble for building a dedicated ship for this mission. The distance from there to HD 40064 was 225Ly, so the Dinnerbell with her 228Ly boosted range could've actually made the jump. But I found one Neutron just a bit closer than even that, and that was Pheia Aeg ZD-T d3-0.
Myeadai YE-X d2-0:
Pheia Aeg TM-W d1-0:
Pheia Aeg ZD-T d3-0:
With this, HD 40064 had finally came within my reach. But there I was - hesitating. I was aware of my coming here with suicidal intent of course, I knew this was going to be a one way trip to hell... but when it comes to actually flipping the switch... I still got cold feet for a bit I must admit.
But turning back was simply not an option at this point. I took a deep breath, a few seconds of silence, and then I flipped that switch... "jumping fearlessly into the icy void of space", as a certain narrator once said it.
Feels... elating, somehow:
As to what I found there, you will read about that in my next report!
Not too long ago, after having visited the desolate galactic region of Xibalba as my last stop on my Milky Way circumnavigation before returning home, I once more came across [BD+46 1067 (IC 2149)]. As I thought I'd visit it again - as it's quite beautiful - I looked around a bit and spotted something interesting pretty high up and away from the galactic plane.
A bright class K0 I red supergiant going by the name HD 40064, named in the ancient Henry Draper star catalogue.
That star immediately piqued my interest, as it was not only a red supergiant pretty close to the rim, but also seemingly very hard to reach.
I attempted to plot a few manual routes, but it seemed entirely unreachable without the help of the quadruple boost we get from Neutron stars, and even with those, it appeared quite challenging:
I was hooked. I simply had to get there, no matter what! But the way it seemed it would be hard to reach and impossible to escape from. If I were to go there, I would die there.
Plus, I'd lose my beloved vessel, the [Dinnerbell], if I were to self-destruct in that system.
But I had to get there.
For the first time, I started to seriously rush. Rush home into civilized space as far as I could. And I made those 8000 light years in less than a day!
Once back, I decided to build a second Diamond Explorer ship, but a riskier one tuned for just range, removing all the safety nets.
A smaller reactor, smaller power distributor, a single bay SRV hangar instead of the 2-bay one, no heatsinks, no repair limpets. And of course, no shields. On top of that an added Guardian frame shift drive booster, one as big as possible.
I had the throw-away suicide vessel painted in sexy violet, and named her [Yumeko-chan] after a certain borderline-insane compulsive gambler going by the name of Jabami Yumeko. "A fitting name", I thought. It's not like Jabami Yumeko won all her high risk gambles, you know...
It took me two days of preparations for this attempt, one for obtaining a Guardian frame shift drive booster, and another one for collecting a few materials that were still missing for engineering Yumeko's frame shift drive to its maximum.
When that was done, I could finally set out to meet both HD 40064 and my maker! That is, if I'd ever even get there...
Note: Some of the screenshots in this report suffer from the "blocky" bug that happens when taking high-resolution photographs of bright objects (stars). My apologies for that.
There are surely lots of places in the galaxy that I could recommend to new explorers, even after just one single trip out into the void. But if there is one place that I would call an absolute must-see, then it'd be the "World of Death" or "Monde de la Mort"!
It's located in the system [Spoihaae XE-X d2-9], look for the first planet in the system.
What you'll notice pretty quickly is its highly eccentric orbit, and that's around a white dwarf star!
As lady luck would have it, the 1.12g planet crosses the deadly jet cones of the white dwarf star and even enters its also deadly exclusion zone on it's ≈88 minute orbit.
The challenge? To land on it and get back off of it alive!
There are two problems with that: First, the planet is fast. To land on it safely, it needs to be far away enough for your ship not to encounter thermal problems, but not too far, because then it would enter the jet cone while you're still performing your landing manoeuvre.
Your ship is highly sensitive to the radiation inside the jet cone, and such a thing is generally only survivable while inside a frameshift space bubble. Close to the planetary surface this becomes deadly real quick. When outside of frameshift space, your ship would get murderized by the jet stream pretty quickly.
So there is a very narrow time window that you need to get right! The descend won't be super fast either, this being a moderately high-g world.
In my case, the planet was about to enter the cone on the outer part of its orbit, so I had to play the waiting game for about an hour (time to hydrate yourself a pizza!) before I could finally undertake a landing attempt:
If you're used to moderate-g or high-g worlds, this shouldn't be too hard, as long as you get the timing right. As for the spot to land at, I just picked some place in the well-lit part during the world's travelling away from the star, towards its apoapsis:
Now I was going to make use of the miraculous radiation and temperature resistance that our SRV exhibits, and send our ship away to safety:
Alright, after this it was just me and the deadly environment of this extreme world:
Now that we're here, we'll stay for a bit. Optimally for exactly 88 minutes, right back to the same time window we used for our approach. So make note of the time at approach and landing! It might not be obvious when to take off later, so doing this by the clock might be a good idea.
First comes the passage through the jet cone at the apoapsis. It's an awesome light show with quite some resemblance of the aurora borealis on Earth:
That's the chill phase of the experience. You just sit there in the dark watching the slow-moving light show in the sky while listening to some calming music. Great stuff!
But don't fall asleep, because as the planet approaches its periapsis - the closest point to the star - things happen really, really fast. Like crazy fast! The entire flyby will take only seconds!
Here the deadly white dwarf appears on the horizon:
You'll immediately notice severe gravitational lensing that the photos simply don't do any justice. It's a breathtaking event by all means! The most amazing thing is probably that the planet isn't being torn asunder by the shearing force at this distance and speed, which feels so fast it's unreal:
Now I don't have any photographs of getting bathed in the jet cone at periapsis, because I just had to watch in shock and awe as it happened. Mind you, at the closest point to the star, you'd be only about 18.000 kilometres away! But heh... since that's measured centre-to-centre, the actual closest distance from the surface of the planet to the surface of the star is much less than that!
Given the radius of the white dwarf (≈7.000km) and the planet (≈3.600km) one may come as close as ≈7.400km! Absolutely insane!
Now, after all that excitement, one needs to calm down a bit and be a little patient. Don't rush things! Just count the minutes until you can be sure to be out of the danger zone and not yet in the cone close to the apoapsis.
Then, recall your ship, and get the hell off this world! :)
This makes for the most amazing experience I had in this galaxy so far! If you ever visit the galactic centre and/or Colonia, make sure to pay this place a visit!
You'll experience both the intense thrill of the close flyby and the solemn calm of the far side cone.
It's freaking amazing and beautiful!
You'll love it!
Unless you die, that is... ;)
As a part of my reports for my 1st exploration trip, I shall share some tight multi-star configurations.
A white class F and an orange-yellow class K (if I remember correctly):
A cooler pair consisting of one class M red dwarf and one class L brown dwarf:
Class K yellow-orange pair:
Want more stars? Have three (this looked pretty cool):
Or maybe even four? The two close pairs are orbiting a common barycenter, something I'd seen only twice or maybe thrice so far:
Four stars made the largest near-distance configuration I have seen for now. Would be interesting to see even more stars close to each other. Next step would naturally be five, maybe two pairs orbiting each other with a fifth star orbiting around that? Or another pair to make it six...
It's questionable what I'd see as "close enough" to qualify though. This depends both on distance but also stellar radius, so that it would be ostensibly close enough to "look awesome".