They make the z-space jump with a badly damaged ship, which is disrecommended because of the 10% chance of missing your target star system and 3% chance of a horrifying death of being smeared across the cosmos, but the odds of a horrifying death if they stay here in this firefight are much higher and the odds of a horrifying death where they're headed is much higher so he can't even really get worked up about it. They end up not smeared across hyperspace, in any event. The external sensors are all shot so they have to resort to literally looking out the window, but the planet looks right, blue and green.
<I would have predicted some visible lights on the dark side, from a civilization which has reached its moon> Cayaldwin says.
<Are electrical lights visible at this distance to the naked eye?>
<Ordinarily, yes. On some planets we would not observe it because they prohibit external lights at night to minimize light pollution, because they do not require them, or because they do not have any aboveground cities. None of those were mentioned with respect to Earth but >
The shields have another hour in them, maybe two, and then they'll be visible to every Yeerk ship in orbit. They're honestly gambling a little bit that they aren't already, who knows what Yeerk sensor technology looks like these days, and if the ship's been spotted they'll have no warning before something breaches the hull. If the ship's not spotted, it's enough time to make it to the planet, narrowly. It's not enough time to try to jury-rig any sensor system better than staring out the window. He picks a landing site far from civilization. They're going to need to kidnap some humans and learn to imitate them and they can't afford to be noticed or make the news.
It's a rough landing; several people have to morph off broken legs. There is time, barely, to confirm there's no one around within the range of human eyesight, before the shields go out. The ship's in terrible shape, not that he's expecting to ever get out of this gravity well. There's one plane in decent shape but the Yeerks will be able to detect it.
Enough of the internal sensors are working to confirm that the air in the airlock is four to one nitrogen to oxygen with traces of other things none of which kill Andalites. Cayaldwin says this is expected for Earth.
They send a scout out as a bird. The aim is to find the nearest human habitation where they can kidnap some humans to talk to to get oriented.