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The Mun appears to have quite a varied surface. Is there a particularly good spot for a first landing, i.e. where the ground is level and smooth?

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    I didn't make many mun landings yet, but it appears to me like the craters are considerably more smooth than the rest, and they are perfectly level in the center. You should try to land on the side facing the sun - landing in the darkness is much more difficult.
    – Philipp
    Commented Feb 18, 2013 at 10:39

4 Answers 4

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  1. Do not go to the dark side. Seriously. Jebediah still remembers the day he only just escaped death. Unless you put some spotlights on (the really bright ones. Haven't tested it yet, but I assume it gives off enough light).

  2. The center of a crater is the best location for a level landing. Mountain tops tend to be less curvy than the rest of the moon surface, but there's always the chance of overshooting and having to land on a hillside.

  3. If you use Rover wheels instead of landing gear, you minimize the issues for landing on slanted terrain (tipping over <-> rolling away). Although it does require you to come down much more gently if I recall correctly.

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  • Extra note: The really bright spots are enough to light up the surface when landing, but it doesn't help you decide where to land. They'll only hit the surface when you're already nearing the end of your descent.
    – Flater
    Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 8:04
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With the right ship its kind of easy to land almost anywere.
The thing you have to do is, forget legs, use multiple fuel around (minimal 1 tank of 360.0 with 4 around), you can use the 1/4 type so its almost the same of having a big one. but with a lot more area.

Second, calculate correctly when to stop. (almost burns no fuel).
Best way for me is, do a PE of the object you want to land as low as possible but also be safe, example you can do at 6k on moon on some areas but you may crash so not the idea.
Then set the AP oposite to the PE just 2k over (this way you go slower and need to burn less fuel, also gives you time to do the stop). Full stop in orbit but, do not use orbit but surface velocity (so basically you are truly perpendicular to where you want to land).

There you have to make a calcualation with the following:

  • altitude when you was not falling (best to use the AP if you did correctly all the maneuver). If you forgot, you can then get your actual altitude and velocity (check its just down velocity)
  • exact altitude to reach (not always known so be sure to give a margin or, even to "drop" a part of your ship and see how far it is when it hits the floor.
  • have in mind the exact max acceleration of your ship.

With that 3 values then you have an easy formula:

maxVel=sqrt(2*(StartAltitude-StopAltitude+0.5*initial Vel^2/bodyAcc)/(+1/bodyAcc+1/(ShipAcc-bodyAcc)))

where sqrt is the square root, StartAltitude the max altitude (normally AP), StopAltitude the landing altitude, initial vel the velocity down (in case you do this mid falling, or, you have to change rockets and aceleration). BodyAcc is the acceleration in newtons of the celestial body and ShipAcc is the aceleration of the ship. (do not take the aproximated you know the actual max, its better as this will be more later so this way mostly sure you do not crash).

Now it's imperative you give from 5 to 10 more to the velocity (means start before the max vel) because you are human and you will loose some power by aiming, and this is final if you surpass you are dead.

Now for the celestial body Acceleration you cannot use the direct reference as its measured as a relation, (example moon says 0.1666 = 1/6) but this is 1/6 of g which in real is 9.8/6, not just the number 0.1666).

Hope you enjoy it.

Almost forgot, if you need to change your rockets (because another phase), you have to do all the calculation again with the same acceleration, now if you are going faster already, you are dead, so be carefull if your current phase does not have enough to calculate to get rid of them at the point they make your velocity almost 0, that will mean check how much fuel (time) you need for it (now, you do not want to wait to the max vel but you can know by doing time=maxVel/(ShipAcc-bodyAcc), if this time is more than the fuel you have, the formula i gave is invalid as mostly sure the next phase does not have the same aceleartion (and if it have less, you are dead), so in such case just burn all the fuel in a way your speed is 0 when you do the change (yes you have to think before hand for a landing).

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avoid the dark side. aim for the center of a crater unless your lander is equipped with wheels. even then, don't aim for slopes if you can help it.

be VERY mindful of lateral velocity and be sure you can kill it. otherwise no matter what craft you're using you are most likely going to rip off a strut and maybe your engine.

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To be honest, i don't find it difficult to land anywhere on the Mun, but craters are best, with high power lights aimed down, sun doesn't matter at all.

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    Try the poles. Hard to find any sizeable patch of terrain there with less than 45 degree slope.
    – Thomas
    Commented Nov 16, 2013 at 1:29

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