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. 2200 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 5/s ⚡/s
Processing energy {{{processing energy}}} ⚡/s
Field of View (min) 17
(max) 63
Detection 0
Enhancable × No
Modes Terrain
Biome

The Mobile Processing Lab MPL-LG-2 generates a far greater amount of Science from experimental results by first converting them into a cache of "data" which is then slowly "researched" into stored science by Scientists, over the course of many days. It can also be used to "Level Up Crew" who have gained sufficient experience, throughout the craft, without returning to Kerbin. It provides access to KerbNet and a "Clean Experiments" action that can restore Mystery Goo™ Containment Unit and SC-9001 Science Jr. modules for use, after their results are removed.

The lab has a maximum occupancy of two Kerbals. It must contain at least one kerbonaut in order to process the results of science activities stored aboard the craft into "data" and a scientist, specifically, for Kerbnet access and experiment cleaning.

Once the lab contains some stored data and one or two scientists, the "Start Research" option is enabled, where a small percentage of the data is then converted into stored science, measured in "sci/day". As data is continuous being consumed the conversion rate can be seen to drop. Researching also consumes a lot of electricity (5⚡/s), but can be started and stopped at any time without penalty and will continue in the background while viewing other craft and using time warp. The "Transmit Science" function must then be used to send the stored science home for use, via the CommNet, or the lab itself recovered on kerbin.

The lab has two exit hatches. For EVAs, the northward one is default from VAB builds, or the under side from SPH. But if that is blocked, for example by placing the module inside a Mk3 Cargo Bay CRG-50, then the unobstructed hatch will be used instead.

By entering the lab via one of its hatches, from EVA, all experiments carried by a kerbonaut are automatically stored in the part. Uniquely, unlike other modules, an unlimited number of duplicate experiments can be stored in the lab this way, having collected them externally.

The lab is not a command module; any craft it is 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 inside of the lab can be viewed via interior overlay, IVA and the kerbal's portraits. Finally, the Lab is fairly delicate, with an impact tolerance of only 6 m/s.

Usage

Experiment Storage

It is not possible to transfer 'raw' results to the lab directly from the experiment modules, while controlling the craft, as you could to an Experiment Storage Unit (or some of the top tier probe core command modules).

However, a kerbonaut on EVA nearby can manually "Store Experiments" they have collected into the lab module from outside, or have them automatically stored by simply boarding through one of the lab's hatches. In these ways, an unlimited number of the exact, same experiment result can be stockpiled in the lab, where any other module would force discarding of duplicates. This feature may be of limited use, since each lab will only accept data from each unique experiment once.

Removing stored experiments from the lab requires using a kerbal on EVA, to "Take Data" (by bringing up the part's action menu).

Generating Science from Data

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 "processed" in the lab module into a special thing that this module calls "data" (doing this uses up the experiment). 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 a duplicate experiment can be taken to another lab and processed there. Note that when an experiment has been used to generate data it is consumed, but if the experiment is re-run the duplicate result 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 in a lab that 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 that amount of data 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 in the lab, 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, so it is necessary to regularly switch focus to the craft with the lab and transmit the saved science. If the storage buffer fills entirely up with science, research work stops until transmission makes space. Antenna selection is automatic, for the lowest power use, fastest transmission. Only integer quantities of science can be transmitted, so the minimum transmittable is 1 science.

Alternatively, a lab can be recovered on Kerbin to claim the science, but this would be an unusual effort, since there is no additional science value gained from physically returning this type of science payload.

To generate data, right-click the lab, storage module or experiment where the results are stored, and select "Review Data" from the action menu, then select the "Process Data" option (yellow button) on successive experiment results until the lab's data capacity is full. To store more data in a lab there must be space to fit all of an experiment's processed data. Hence it can be tricky to fill it up exactly to its 750 capacity.

Data Value

An experimental result is processed into an amount of data based on its original science value and the physical location of the lab at the time the data is generated. There is a 10% bonus when the lab is on a surface, 25% bonus for processing experiments in the same SOI that they were taken, and a 90% penalty when on Kerbin's surface. These combine in a multiplicative fashion, such that:

Data = ScienceValue · (1 + SurfaceBonus) · (1 + ContextBonus) · homeworldMultiplier

Where:

  • ScienceValue = full original science value of that specific experiment (i.e. when recovering the first result, back on Kerbin).
  • SurfaceBonus = 0.1 when landed (or splashed down) on the surface of a body, otherwise = 0.
  • ContextBonus = 0.25 when lab is currently within the same SOI the experiment originates from, otherwise = 0.
  • homeworldMultiplier = 0.1 when landed (or splashed down) on Kerbin, otherwise = 1.

Example 1: a SC-9001 Science Jr. Materials Study on the surface of the Mun, worth 100 science, processed on site. Data = 100·(1+0.1)·(1+0.25)·1 = 100·1.1·1.25 = 138 (rounded up). Or, for the same experiment processed in orbit of Mun, Data = 100·1·1.25·1 = 125.

Example 2: a Gravity Scan on the KSC launch pad, processed on the spot. Data = 6·(1+0.1)·(1+0.25)·0.1 = 6·1.1·1.25·0.1 = 0.825 = 1 (rounded up). Or, processed a moment after lift off, Data = 6·1·1.25·1 = 7.5 = 8 (rounded up).

So labs on the surface of Kerbin are near worthless for processing experiments into data, with low value results (e.g. Temperature Scans from Kerbin) literally worth zero data.

The lab can store 750 units of data. If the data that would be generated by processing an experiment is too big for the remaining space in the lab's buffer, it will refuse to process it. A less valuable experiment may still be able to fit and enough space will eventually be made as data is depleted by scientists researching. On a craft with multiple labs, data will automatically be added to a different lab, with space, once the first is too full.

Electric Charge Use

Experiments are processed into data instantly, with no use of electric charge.

Researching data into science costs a flat 5 units of electricity per second, regardless of the number of scientists or their level. However, no charge will be consumed if the craft is not loaded, while focused elsewhere.

Transmitting the produced science requires use of an antenna for an amount of time, with each unit of science equating to one Mbit of data, and the associated charge that takes to transmit via the antenna used (e.g. 6⚡/Mbit for the Communotron 16, up to 24⚡/Mbit with the RA-2 Relay Antenna).

Cleaning of experiments appears to consume a significant amount of charge when it takes time to execute, but much of the time cleaning is instant [this mechanism needs identifying/clarifying].

Data Processing Rate

While the lab is active, the data stored in it is slowly converted into usable science, which is also then stored in the lab. A fixed ratio of 5 science will be produced for every 1 unit of data consumed. However, the speed of conversion varies: the amount of science produced per day is proportional to the remaining amount of data stored in the lab. So science output will decline towards zero as data is exhausted.

Only scientists in the lab contribute to research. The higher a scientist's level, the more research that scientist contributes. The conversion rates supplied by each scientist of a given level are as follows:

Level Data Used/Day Science/Day

(Percent of Current Data)

Sci/Day at 750 Data

(Max Rate, When Full)

☆☆☆☆☆ 0.108% 0.540% 4.050
★☆☆☆☆ 0.135% 0.675% 5.063
★★☆☆☆ 0.162% 0.810% 6.075
★★★☆☆ 0.189% 0.945% 7.088
★★★★☆ 0.216% 1.080% 8.100
★★★★★ 0.243% 1.215% 9.113

The total research rate with two scientists is the sum of their individual rates. E.g. a level 2 and a level 3, together, would start out producing: 6.075 + 7.088 = 13.163 sci/day, in a lab that is totally filled with data.

Cleaning

The Mystery Goo™ Containment Unit and SC-9001 Science Jr. modules can be reset for reuse by selecting the Clean Experiment option from a Lab's action menu. This is only possible after the result has been removed from an experiment (transferred, transmitted or converted into Lab data) and while there is a kerbal in the Lab. The feature allows bulk resetting of all experimental modules on (or docked to) a craft with a lab, avoiding the need to EVA a scientist to manually reset each one. However, cleaning experiments this way can sometimes take a while to complete, consuming a substantial amount of electric charge, much like transmitting results does (with a series of percentage complete messages).

Level Up Crew

A Lab with KerbNet access can "level up" any crew on the vessel. This causes the Kerbal's experience to be recognized in the same manner as recovery at Kerbin. This function is extremely useful for expeditions to other planets, a Kerbal with 0 experience upon departure from Kerbin can be leveled to 3 stars on achieving orbit at Duna or Eve, provided they have also done at least a flyby of a moon.

KerbNet requires a comms connection through to Kerbin and a scientist in the lab module.

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.

Integrated Integrals

Trivia

Changes

1.2
  • Added KerbNet access and lights
  • Added Level Up Crew functionality
1.1
  • Processing experiments into data no longer takes time or uses electricity
  • Data storage buffer increased to 750
  • A recovered lab is credited for any science contained within
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