Research and Development
The Technology tab displays the tech tree. On it are the nodes you've unlocked and currently locked nodes. Unlocking nodes requires Science points, though parts in locked nodes whose prerequisite nodes have been unlocked can be individually unlocked with funds.
The Science Archives allow you to browse results of previously executed science activities. There are several filters available to limit it only to a specific body, situation, biome or experiment. Seeing which areas you lack experimental data from helps guide where best to send science-focused missions.
Since version 0.24, Research & Development Department has been an agency offering contracts, one of only two[outdated] which is not a manufacturer. Their contracts are focused entirely on gathering Science data and doing things that have never been done before. Crew survival isn't unwelcome either.
|“||The Space Program's own Research & Development Department. Headed by celebrity rocket scientist Wernher von Kerman, these guys are the brains of the whole operation. Driven by an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, no piece of data is too small or too irrelevant, and increasing the accumulated knowledge of Kerbalkind is their main motivation. Our resident geniuses only ask to be given due academic credit for their contributions to science, and that all astronauts PLEASE refrain from entering the labs without cleaning their boots first.||”|
The Research and Development Facility is the largest structure in the Kerbal Space Center and consists of several buildings, though none are nearly as large as the Vehicle Assembly Building or the Spaceplane Hangar. Its complex architecture notably includes a two-storey tall tunnel through a large building and an elevated hallway connecting two buildings about five-storeys up. In the southwest corner is an observatory, presumably for an optical telescope. A separate building on the south side has massive ductwork for a wind tunnel. Nearby is a tank tower similar to that by the launch pad. Scattered around are numerous smaller buildings and quonset huts.
The result for taking a surface sample at KSC says it is the substance that “makes the scientists yell at us when we go into the labs without cleaning our boots first”. This theme may be a reference to real-life cases of extraterrestrial scientific samples being contaminated by terrestrial materials, such as the Earth bacteria discovered on drill bits used by Curiosity while on Mars.
If a player tries to enter the R&D facility in sandbox mode, a message will appear saying "The research and development facility is closed". Attempting to send experimental data (ex. from a goo canister) will yield one of three messages such as "You feel that you aren't really learning anything."
In the first official release in 0.23.5, the scientific progress was reset when visiting the facility using a save from an old version. An update afterwards changing the version number to 0.23.5.464 fixed that issue.
- Notification from Rowsdower about that issue in the forums
- “KSP: Asteroid Redirect Mission is Officially Released!” by HarvesteR released on April 1st 2014