The science system in Kerbalism is very different from how you know it in KSP. Science isn’t generated at the click of one button any more, most experiments will take time to complete. Some will just take minutes, others will need years. The good news is that experiments will keep running in the background on unloaded vessels while you’re busy with other missions, and they will generate a constant stream of scientific value while they’re running.
While this doesn’t sound like a big thing, it will change the way you build vessels, it will change the way you plan your missions and it will force you to make tough decisions. You will have to choose which experiments to run, because you won’t be able to run them all at the same time. Sometimes you will have to delete valuable data to be able to collect new science. And you will have to come up with engineering solutions for problems you never had before. Or when was the last time you had to sustain a base with crew for months, submerged at least 100m deep on the ocean floor?
Science results can be flagged for transmission home and they will be sent to DSN at the first opportunity. The transmission happens over time, even when the vessels are unloaded. Transmission times can range from mere seconds to years, depending on the size of the file transmitted and the transmission rate of the connection.
Some experiment results are not transmissible, these are considered samples and need to be recovered or analyzed in a lab. Samples are stored in slots that can be flagged for analysis, and then will be analyzed over time in a laboratory. As the analysis proceeds the sample will be slowly converted into transmissible data.
Samples have mass. Some Experiments like the Goo Container contain just a few grams of sampling material (mystery goo) that is used up while the goo observation takes place. Once the sampling material is used up, the experiment cannot be rerun. Other experiments will collect samples from the atmosphere or the surface. A surface sample for example will collect 25kg of mass that should be accounted for when it needs to be hauled off the surface.
The Science system supports stock experiments and other experiments that use the Science Dialog. Stock experiments get some tweaks, the data is transmissible completely or not at all, situation and biome combinations have been altered, the need to repeat the same experiment in a situation multiple times has been removed and the science credits returned have been rebalanced.
- Slow Down As science takes time to collect it can be advisable to set your parachutes to open at the maximum altitude to allow enough time to complete science collection as you float slowly down.
- Early Power Experiments need electric charge. Your early pods don’t have a lot of power so you need to invest early in other sources. Fuel cells are a great way of resolving your power issues until solar panels. Make them a priority.
- Explore It’s not all about getting to space! At least not in your first few launches. Shores, Water and Grasslands are all within easy reach!
- All The Science With power in short supply you may have to pick and choose your experiments carefully. Don’t expect to be able to put all science experiments on a single vessel.
- Repeat, Repeat Science takes time to complete, but it doesn’t need to finish to get some science. If the experiment doesn’t finish you can run it again next mission to pick up the science left behind.
- Gonna Need a Bigger HDD Different experiments produce different amounts of data and hard drives can fill up quickly. Make sure you’re transmitting that data home! Antennas can be automated to respond to a full hard drive.
- Transmitting… Experiments produce data at different rates so ensure you have enough bandwidth to transmit it as quickly as you gather it or your hard drive will fill up fast. Choose the number and type of antennas wisely.
- Unlimited Power! You don’t have it. Make sure you switch on your experiments (including those in the capsule) in the VAB and check the Kerbalism planner to see how much electrical power your vessel uses.
- How Much? Generally the longer it takes and the more electrical charge it uses the more science reward you’ll get. Those difficult experiments are worth doing.
- Automate Just like everything else in Kerbalism those science experiments can be set to turn on and off depending on situation. Check the auto tab of the Kerbalism panel in flight.
- Polar Orbits You can run biome dependent experiments on a probe in polar orbit. That way your experiment will fly over all the biomes and collect data for all of them.