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Mobile Processing Lab MPL-LG-2

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Mobile Processing Lab MPL-LG-2
Part image
Laboratory by
Integrated Integrals
Radial size Large
Cost (total) 4 000.00 Fund
Mass (total) 3.50 t
Drag 0.2-0.3
Max. Temp. 2000 K
Impact Tolerance 6 m/s
Research Advanced exploration.png Advanced Exploration
Unlock cost 10400 Fund
Since version 0.23
Part configuration LargeCrewedLab
Crew capacity (maximum) 2
(required) 1
Researching energy {{{researching energy}}} ⚡/s
Processing energy 10 ⚡/s

The Mobile Processing Lab MPL-LG-2 generates Science from experimental results, stores unlimited experiments, and allows reuse of the Mystery Goo™ Containment Unit and SC-9001 Science Jr. after transmitting or removing the results of observations.

The lab has a maximum occupancy of two Kerbals. The lab must be momentarily crewed by at least one scientist in order to process the results of science activities into "data". Once the lab contains data, the data is slowly "researched" into science - but this happens even if all scientists are in other modules on the craft, because all scientists on board the craft contribute to researching data. While processing experiments into data, or data into science, the module consumes a lot of electricity.

The lab is not a command module; any craft it's a part of will need a probe body or command pod to be piloted. It starts unmanned by default, but crew members can be added in the Crew tab before launch. The Lab provides portraits and IVA as of the 1.0 update (but the portrait camera bounces around a lot). The lab has two exit hatches. When brought from the part menu in VAB it defaults to orientation with the hatch used for EVA facing the left side of the lab (when looking towards the launchpad from VAB). That's the opposite orientation than default on the cargo bay modules, so if you're going to shield the lab with an MK3 cargo bay, you must first rotate it 180 degrees, or any attempt to leave it would result in a message "Hatch obstructed". Both hatches can be used to board the lab from EVA.

The Lab is quite fragile, only withstanding impacts up to 6 m/s. So if you are landing one on some celestial body, do it gently.

Usage

Experiment Storage

Even with no crew, the lab module can store unlimited amounts of "raw" experiment results (like a Kerbonaut can). In contrast, any command pod or crew module may only store one copy of an experiment.

Generating Science over time

Normally "data" means "results from scientific instruments or crew activities". Those must be called "experiments" here, because it is important to understand that the word "data" when used in the lab means something different. Experiments are (harmlessly) "processed" in the lab module into a special thing that this module calls "data". Any experiment stored anywhere on a vessel with a lab can be used to produce data. Each unique experiment can produce data for a given lab module only once, but the same experiment can be taken to another lab and processed again. Multiple labs on a single vessel don't function as expected as of 1.0.2, so it is recommended that each lab be on a unique vessel. Note that after any experiment has been used to generate data, it can still be transmitted or recovered for its usual science yield. The reverse is also true; any experiment that has already been recovered at KSC for full value can still be run again, stored in the lab, and converted to the full amount of lab data in each new lab.

If one or more scientists are on board a vessel, and its lab contains data, then the lab may be used to perform research - which will consume a small percentage of the processed data every day to produce 5 times its value in science. This process drains a significant amount of electric charge while active. The rate at which the data is converted into science is determined by the amount of stored data, the number of scientists on the craft, and their respective levels. The process continues in the background even when the vessel with the lab is not in focus. Up to 500 units of science can be stored before the results must be manually transmitted back to KSC, but it is necessary to regularly switch focus to the lab and transmit all that saved science. If the buffer storage of science fills up, work stops until transmission. Any stored science in the lab is lost if the lab is recovered on Kerbin; the science must be transmitted, and as such a lab is useless without an antenna.

To generate data, right-click the lab or pod where the experiments are stored and select Review Data, then select the Process Data option until the lab's data capacity is full. At this point those experiment results can be removed, they are no longer needed to process the data and generate science in the lab.

Data Value

An experimental result is processed into an amount of data based on its own original science value and the physical location of the lab at the time the data is generated. A lab on the surface of a body produces more data per experiment than one in orbit, and if the experiment is from the same body as the one the lab is orbiting or landed on the data value is greater. The exception to this is Kerbin, a lab landed on Kerbin produces less data than one in orbit of Kerbin.

As of 1.0.5, the lab can store 500 units of data. In 1.1, this will probably be increased a little, since a limit this low can cause problems on Eeloo. Once the buffer of data is full, the lab will refuse to process any more experiments until some of that data has been used up (by scientists doing research).

Data Processing and Research Cost

Make sure you have enough electric charge stored to process experiments into data. Processing data uses 10 units of electric charge per second, with different experiments requiring varying amounts of total energy to process.

Experiment Processing energy (E)
Surface Sample 300
Mystery Goo Observation 100
Materials Study 250
Temperature Scan 80
Atmospheric Pressure Scan 120
Seismic Scan 500
Gravity Scan 600
Atmosphere Analysis 2000
Crew Report 50
EVA Report 80
Asteroid Sample  ??

Research costs 5 units of electric charge per second per scientist.

Data Processing Rate

While the lab is active, the data stored in it is slowly converted into usable science. The amount of science converted per day is proportional to the amount of data stored in the lab. Each scientist on board the vessel contributes to research, including those outside of the lab. The higher a scientist's level, the more research that scientist contributes. The data conversion rate supplied by each level of a given scientist are as follows:

Level Multiplier Rate (Percentage/Day)
☆☆☆☆☆ 1x 0.0135%
★☆☆☆☆ 5x 0.0675%
★★☆☆☆ 9x 0.1215%
★★★☆☆ 13x 0.1755%
★★★★☆ 17x 0.2295%
★★★★★ 21x 0.2835%

Cleaning

Once their science has been either taken or transmitted, the Mystery Goo™ Containment Unit and SC-9001 Science Jr. modules can be reset for reuse by cleaning out these experiments. This can be done in bulk for any such experiments docked to the lab, and saves the trouble of sending a scientist on EVA to manually reset the experiments.

Usage scenarios

This section is a stub. You can help KSP Wiki by expanding or discussing it.

These look like tutorials.

Docking Space-Lab

A lander performs all experiments as usual, but rather than returning home, it docks with a Laboratory in orbit; EVA over all experiments, take/collect data, board Laboratory. The data is now safely stored in the Lab. You may clean out the experiments and re-use the same lander.

Lab Lander

Integrate the Lab in the Lander, do the data gathering and instrument cleaning on-site. No risk of poor kerbals drifting off into space. You may bring enough fuel in order to make several small hops and visit different biomes before you need to re-orbit and dock with a filling station. While convenient, such landers tend to be rather bulky and heavy, though.

Lab Base

A landed lab can create data from experimental results from all over the same body. Using rovers, landers or EVAs results can be gathered into a stationary lab from multiple nearby biomes. A lab on the surface yields the most data from experiments conducted on that body. The lab needs to sit in place for a long time to generate science, and keep in mind (for the Mun especially given its slow rotation) that it's going to be in the shade half the time without solar power, so it may be advisable to land near the pole of the body and/or give it a large power storage.

Product description

No longer are you limited to research facilities only on Kerbin! With the Mobile Processing Lab, you can conduct long-term experiments and ongoing research with the data you collect in the field. Be sure to check back on your scientists from time to time, and transmit the results of their research home! This model is guaranteed to spontaneously combust less than previous models, and also has the equipment necessary to clean out and restore functionality to inoperable experiments.

Trivia

Changes

1.0
  • Added possibility to generate Science over time
  • Removed old transmission boost function. Clean experiments function retained.
  • Added IVA models
0.90
  • Transmission boost reduced from +50% to +15%
0.23
  • Initial release