Io, Nap of The Earth
It's a bitch to fly low over terrain on an airless world. The rules are the same for Luna and the Galileans. There's no lift, so you constantly have to fire the ventral thrusters to keep from skidding into the ground. Thrusters to keep you level; main drive to keep you moving. If you were to just tilt up with the main drive, you don't stay low for very long. Plus you can't see where you're going. It's okay for flat terrain, but useless for badlands.
Now sure, you could theoretically fly an orbit just a few dozen meters off the ground, but that nasty terrain will kill you. Not even a machine can react fast enough to something unexpected when you're flying at 2,000 meters per second. Better to go slow, no more than a third of that if you're really good, a tenth if you're safe. It wastes fuel, but it keeps you from getting dead.
All pages and images ©1999 - 2010
by Geir Lanesskog, All Rights Reserved