5. Elite: Dangerous Exploration

Exploration sees you travel the Milky Way galaxy discovering systems, planets and other astronomical phenomenon such as neutron stars and black holes. To gain ranks in Exploration you collect data by scanning systems and their contents then take that data to a station and sell it with a large amount of factors determining how much you make for each discovery, your rank increases based on how much profit you make selling that data. The ranks and their requirements (note they are not 100% exact, these are estimates found on the ED wiki that most agree on) are as follows:

Aimless - Starting Rank

Mostly Aimless - 40,000Cr

Scout - 270,000Cr

Surveyor - 1,140,000Cr

Trailblazer - Roughly 3,000,000Cr

Pathfinder - 10,000,000Cr

Ranger - 35,000,000Cr

Pioneer - 116,000,000Cr

Elite - Roughly 300,000,000Cr

Getting to the rank of Trailblazer will unlock:

A New Ranulph?

Reach an Explorer Rank of Trailblazer

A New Ranulph?
2 guidesOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeLevel

If this is your first or your final Elite rank you will also unlock one of the following:

Elitist

Get an Elite Ranking

Elitist
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeLevelTime Consuming

or

Triple Elite

Reach a rank of Elite in Exploration, Combat and Trading

Triple Elite
4 guidesOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeLevelTime Consuming

In this part of the guide I will give you a step by step guide on how to build up your bankroll from the starting Sidewinder ship as well as get you in with your first Engineer if you haven't done any work on them before hand. If you are coming to Exploration from finishing off one of the other career options you can jump ahead a bit to the Asp Explorer which is the ship I recommend using for your Exploration needs.

You should begin your game in a station within the system LHS 3447 if you just have the base version of the game or Asellus Primus if you have Horizons in your Sidewinder which should be equipped with two Pulse Lasers. Our first objective will be building up some funds to be able to kit out our ship for exploration purposes. This process is a little slow at first but it is still a good fast way to make some money for the purposes of upgrading your ship.

If you started in LHS 3447 press cn_X+cn_left to open your Navigation panel and select the Galaxy Map option (You can also press cn_Y+cn_left). When the map opens up you want to press cn_RB which will take you to the route plotting interface. If you are in LHS 3447 go to the Search field and type into it Asellus Primus then hit enter and it will zoom over to the system for you and highlight it. Next press cn_right and hit cn_A and the game should automatically plot the best possible course for you based on your ships hyperspace jumping capabilities.

Launch from the station you are currently docked in and begin the trip to Asellus Primus. If you happen to start running low on fuel feel free to dock in at a station in a system along the way to purchase more (it's very cheap), to do this just open up the Navigation panel and in the large window it will list all the stations in the system you're currently in so just select the closest one and fly over to dock.

Once you're done refueling open up the Nav panel again and in that same larger window scroll down until you see a list of other systems, one of which will have a zig-zag like symbol next to it, just select this and choose to lock onto it to get back on course. Once you arrive at Asellus Primus open up your Navigation panel once again and select Beagle 2 Landing and dock there briefly, this will become your home for a little bit and as you have docked here it will be where you return should you die.

Select the Outfitter here and select Hardpoints then choose either of the pulse lasers and select Browse Shop. If the station has a cheap Kinetic cannon or Multi-Cannon (preferably a gimballed one that automatically tracks enemies) then select it and if you can get it super cheap or even free/with money back by trading in your laser do so, if not then just remember it for later. Next go to Utility Hardpoints and select one of the empty slots, this time you are looking to see if the station carries a Kill Warrant Scanner and make a mental note of how much the cheapest one available costs. If there is none available you want to visit https://eddb.io. Once on the page select the Station and enter the following into the fields available

  • Station Sells Modules - 0E Kill Warrant Scanner
  • Reference System - Asellus Primus

Once these are entered hit Find Station and the page will automatically generate a list of stations that sell the desired module based on location and their distance/time to travel to for you and usually you will be able to find one even within the same system. You won't be able to buy it yet so just keep a mental note of where it's located.

If you were able to purchase a cannon you would have been urged to assign your fire groups. To do this press cn_X+cn_right to open the Status panel and press cn_RB to reach the Fire Groups tab. Here you will see your available hardpoints on the left and when assigned the fire groups will be on the right where a 1 should be. In the fire group 1 column you want to press cn_A on your laser so that it has an orange 1 next to it, this means that the laser will fire when the cn_RT is pulled, next go to your cannon and press cn_A until it has a blue 2 while still in the same column as the laser which will assign the cannon to cn_LT. The end result should look like this

Sidewinder Fire Group

When you're ready to leave open up the Nav panel and in the large window to the right you want to look for any listings called Resource Extraction Site (Low) and lock onto it. If the area you arrive in is not within an asteroid field then open the Nav and select the next site (make sure it is listed as Low) and try again.

Once you do reach an asteroid field fly around the place and press cn_A to lock on and scan ships, if there are none appearing other than police force ships then exit the game and load back in as this tends to help spawn them. If when you scan another ship they come up as clean leave them alone, but if the come up as wanted you may want to engage them under the following conditions

  • They are in a ship classed as Sidewinder, Eagle, Adder or Hauler
  • They have a danger rating of Harmless, Mostly Harmless or Novice

If you were unable to get a cannon and only have your lasers right now simply follow the enemy ship for a little while and the 'police force' ships in the area will eventually begin to attack them, when they do just join in and you will get some of the bounty when the enemy is destroyed. If you have a cannon and pulse laser then you can go ahead and attack on your own, remember if the enemy has shields up then just use your laser and use both weapons when the shields are down. If you are finding that your lasers run out of power quickly then tap cn_right to dedicate more of your ships power to your weapons.

Once the enemy is destroyed you will be alerted to the bounty reward in the top right of your screen and you should see some bits of loot floating around in the general vicinity where they died, you can collect this loot with your Cargo Scoop which you would have learned to use in the training missions. Collecting these items will give you progress to achievements, but I will cover these elsewhere the guide.

After three or four bounties you want to return to Beagle 2 Landing to turn them in. Always turn in your bounties every few kills because should you actually lose a fight and be destroyed you will lose any you racked up and won't be able to collect.

When you arrive back at Beagle 2 Landing select the Contacts option and here you can collect your bounty rewards. If this is your first career path and your first time collecting a bounty you will unlock:

I Found You!

Cash in a bounty

I Found You!
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperative

With your newly acquired funds go ahead and purchase a cannon if you were unable to before then go and buy your Kill Warrant Scanner from wherever it is located. You will now need to open up your Fire Groups screen and assign your KWS (and cannon if you didn't get one before). My preferred way to go is to have the KWS bound to cn_RT and my laser to cn_LT in fire group one then create a second fire group with the laser on cn_RT and the cannon on cn_LT. Remember when flying you switch fire groups by pressing cn_X+cn_RB.

With this set up you can lock on to a wanted ship and fire your laser at them to weaken their shields while you scan them, then once the scan is done press cn_X+cn_RB to switch to your laser+cannon combo to finish off the fight. The KWS is extremely important as it allows you to find out if the wanted ship has bounties in other systems as well as the one you are currently in which can increase rewards greatly.

Continue flying out to the REZ (Resource Extraction Zone) and back to Beagle 2 Landing until you build up a bankroll of 450,000Cr. Once you have this and you are docked at Beagle 2 Landing go to the Outfitter and set your ship up like so (you can probably skip the chaff launcher playing in solo mode)

ED Exploration Sidewinder

Remember that if the station doesn't have the specific parts as shown you can use eddb.io to find out which stations will have them as close to you as possible.

Once your ship is ready it's time to get started set up your Fire Groups so that the Discovery Scanner is on number 1 (cn_RT) and the Detailed Surface Scanner is on number 2 (cn_LT). Open up the Galaxy Map (cn_Y+cn_left or through the Nav Panel using cn_X+cn_left) and in the search field enter Trappist-1 to plot a course then go down to Jump Data and check the box for Fastest Routes. With your trip plotted press cn_RB until you get to the map tab (second to last one). Go down to where it says 'Show By Colour' and press cn_A for a drop down where you want to choose 'Star Class' then in the grouping below make sure only the top seven of them are checked (Star Types KGB FOAM) then go down and check the 'Apply to route' box. This will ensure that as you travel the game will ensure you get a healthy dose of starts viable for refueling your ship.

When it comes to fuel consumption I try not to let it go under halfway, but I prefer to be cautious. When you need to refuel you can use a process called Fuel Scooping which lets you refuel by flying close to a suitable star. Trying to teach how to do this via text may not translate well so I would recommend you watch the following video to learn how

Over the course of your game you are going to be scooping a lot and once you have scooped at least 100 and then 250 tonnes of fuel from stars you will unlock:

That's Scooper

Fuel scoop 100 tonnes

That's Scooper
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeCumulative +

and

Scooper Hero

Scoop 250 tonnes of fuel

Scooper Hero
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeCumulative +

Next press cn_start and go to your Controls menu. Here go down to and open the Flight Throttle menu and go down to 'Set Speed to 0%' and map it however you like (I use cn_LB+cn_down). From now on when you travel get in to the habit of instantly hitting 0% speed as soon as you enter a system, the point of this is first it helps stop in front of stars for exploration purposes but it is also for safety reasons. If you happen to arrive in a system with a White Dwarf Star, a Nuetron Star or a Black Hole you will have an extremely small window of time to slow down before you get too close and are forced out of Super Cruise which can also cause damage to your ship.

Now that you have all of that set up you can begin the trip. When you arrive in Trappist-1 you should get a message saying you have discovered the star, from here press cn_Y+cn_up to enter Discovery Mode (your HUD will turn blue) then use your Discovery Scanner (cn_RT) to 'Honk' which fires out a massive soundwave and uses echo location to find any celestial bodies or other points of interest within the system.

Now that you have 'honked' open up the FSS screen (cn_Y+cn_RB). This is how you identify all the planets etc. within the system, the screen will look like this

FSS 1

In the Filtered Spectral Analysis bar you can see the soundwave symbols, these represent the different planets in the system that you can uncover. Move the dial over to one of the soundwaves with the cn_RS and use the cn_LS the move the reticle along the Orbital Plane of the system to locate each planet, USS etc. Each area of the Analysis bar focuses on specific planet/signal types which are broken down in the following image

FSS Detailed

The way you earn money for exploration is by identifying stars and/or planets in the FSS then fly over to them and use the Detailed Surface Scanner to do a more detailed scan on a specific planet. Different types of planets will pay out with different amounts so it is important to learn how to identify the high valued planets which are generally Water Worlds, Terraformable Water Worlds, Ammonia Worlds, High Metal Content Worlds and Earth-Like Worlds. Below is a graphic that gives a rough representation on each celestial bodies value (image to be updated as soon as possible following Chapter Four's release).

Exploration Payouts

The graphic represents how the old system would work in regards to ADS+DSS. For now it's assumed that the initial 'honk' and discovery with the FSS is the same as ADS and DSS is when you actually scan and map a planet.

Now to use the Detailed Surface Scanner you want to lock-on to a specific planet (preferably one of the valuable ones listed above) and fly over to it. At first the DSS will tell you that you are out of range and once you are close enough it will tell you you are going too fast so slow your ship down to 30km/s and press cn_LT to enter the DSS screen which looks like this

DSS Screen 1

Here you need to fire off mapping probes by aiming with the cn_RS and pressing cn_LT to launch them. In the bottom right corner you can see an efficiency target (7 probes in the example). If you are able to map the whole planet using the number shown or less you will get a bonus on top of your payout when you hand in your exploration data, different sized planets have different efficiency targets. Once you hit 90% the remaining 10% of the mapping will be completed automatically, below is an image that shows the best launch points for each probe based on the planets efficiency target. I have tried to use this example myself but so far have mixed results so experience may eventually play a part as well for you.

Mapping Guide

It should be noted that you do get a bonus for mapping an entire system with both the FSS and DSS but I have not been able to determine if it is worth the additional effort to do things this way so proceed in whatever way suits your playstyle.

All of the planets in Trappist-1 are very close to your arrival point so go ahead and fly to each one and map them properly, one of them will be an Earth-Like World. For using the FSS to locate every celestial body in the system you will unlock

A Scanner Lightly

Discover every body in a system using the Discovery Scanner

A Scanner Lightly
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperative

For fully mapping at least one of the planets in the system you will also unlock

The Devil's in the Detail

Fully map a planet or ring using the Detailed Surface Scanner

The Devil's in the Detail
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperative

Once you're done with Trappist-1 open up your Galaxy Map, you're going to be visiting a number of systems that I will list below. When you arrive in each system scan the star and honk then scan all planets available unless instructed otherwise.

Systems to visit are

  • Ninhursag
  • Verner
  • Mahibitou
  • Kratakak
  • Hyades Sector HW-W d1-103
  • Hyades Sector NTS-T C3-8 (Only planet A3 - A or B refers to which star it orbits in binary star systems)
  • Pentam (Planets A5 and A6)

Once you've scanned all these you should have roughly between 1,200,000Cr and 2,000,000Cr worth of data to sell. To do this jump to the system Kharu as you need to be a minimum of 20 Lightyears away from where data was gathered to be able to sell it. Fly to Doctorow Beacon and enter the Starport Services screen and select Universal Cartographics from the left side menu. Here select Sell Page to sell all of the data you have which should earn you the following achievements:

A Jewel in the Night

Sell data on a celestial body

A Jewel in the Night
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeShop

Star Chaser

Sell 500,000 credits worth of celestial body data

Star Chaser
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeCumulative +Shop

and

Stars in your Eyes

Sell 1,000,000 credits worth of celestial body data

Stars in your Eyes
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeCumulative +Shop

The last of these data value achievements you should unlock soon enough as it's for selling 2,500,000Cr worth of data

Rising Star

Sell 2,500,000 credits worth of celestial body data

Rising Star
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeCumulative +Shop

This amount of data should also jump you straight to the rank of Surveyor. When you're done with that refuel and repair as needed then go to your Galaxy Map and plot a course for the system Osha and once you arrive dock in at Desargues Survey and go to the Outfitters. In the menu go to Optional Internal and sell your 2C Fuel Tank and 1E Fuel Scoop then in that 2 slot you want to buy a 2A Fuel Scoop instead.

If for some reason this station doesn't have the item you're looking for you can visit https://eddb.io/station. Type in what you're looking to buy in the 'Station Sells Module' field then be sure to enter the current system you are in (Osha) and click Find Stations to generate a list of stations and what system they are in ranked by the distance you will need to travel to get there (be sure to make note of the distance a station is from the arrival point as well).

We are now going to be using a third party source to continue. Use and bookmark the site http://edtools.ddns.net/expl.php here enter the system you are currently in and tick the box to include populated systems then hit the 'Get Route' button to generate a list of systems and which planets you should focus on scanning in each one.

I tend to ignore any planets more than 2500Ls away from the arrival point, though, I sometimes make exceptions for TWWs (terraformable water worlds) and ELWs (Earth-Like Worlds) and might travel up to 10,000Ls or more. Follow this list and sell data when can if you arrive in a populated system, continue doing this until you have roughly 40,000,000Cr saved up (you'll get this much faster than you think you will).

Once you have the funds needed use eddb.io to find your nearest station that sells the Asp Explorer ship and fly there. When you arrive go to the Outfitters and go to your Optional Internals then select both your scanners and choose to store them. Once that's done go to the Shipyard and purchase the Asp Explorer (store your Sidewinder, don't trade it in. For purchasing your first new ship you will unlock:

Splashing Out

Buy a new ship

Splashing Out
2 guidesOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeShop

Go back to the Outfitters in your new ship then go to Stored Modules and equip your Asp with both scanners. Your next task is to source and purchase the parts needed to make the following build:

Asp Explorer Build

If you have enough left over I would highly recommend going for a 6E or better Fuel Scoop in place of the 4 ranked one, the difference in refuel speed is massive.

When you have everything ready go into your Status Panel (cn_X+cn_right) and press cn_RB to go to the Modules screen. Here go down to the Auto Field-Maintenance Units then press cn_A and uncheck the Activate box to turn them off. The reason we do this is they take up a lot of power and they only need to be turned on at specific times so they don't need to be active all of the time.

You now have a ship ready to tackle all of your exploration needs with a jump range of 29LY, an excellent fuel scoop, a vehicle bay for planetary exploration and maintenance units to repair yourself should you take damage which is sure to happen sooner or later as it just takes a moment of distraction or a small lapse in judgement to get to close to a star or stuff up a landing.

If you want to make your ship even better for exploration you can jump over to the Engineers page to learn about upgrading your FSD for a better jump range, but depending on the time you want to invest in it you may be better off just going with what you have at the moment.

For our first order of business go to the Galaxy Map and search for W Ursae Majoris as your next destination. The trip shouldn't be very long as the system is within inhabited space aka The Bubble. Remember to honk and check for any profitable planets along the way. As soon as you enter the system you will unlock your achievement:

Binary Agent

Visit W Ursae Majoris

Binary Agent
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperative

Now that you've gotten a small taste of exploration it's time to really sink into it. Go into the Galaxy Map and enter Colonia into the search field....Yup 22,000LY (remember we can only jump 29LY at a time) away from W Ursae Majoris so to get started open up your Galaxy Map and in the system search bar enter Colonia. In the old days you had to plot your trip 999LY at a time, thankfully you can now plot a course directly to your destination.

The trip is long, expect to be flying for roughly 30-40 in game hours and that's if you only honk each stop and don't try to scan any planets, if you're doing that often expect anyway from 50+.

Each time you arrive in a new system honk and scan the star in front of you then open the System Map. Using the graphic from earlier and the one below which shows what planet types will look like on your holo-display in your cockpit and is very accurate. Simply compare with the first image and if you aren't sure lock onto it in the System Map and back out to compare the holo display image.

Holo Display Planets

Remember to also stop and refuel often and should you take any damage turn on one of your Auto Field-Maintenance Units (AFMUs from here-on) then select the damaged module in the menu screen and choose Repair. The reason you have two AFMUs is because one cannot repair itself should it get damaged.

Eventually you may run out of AFMU fuel/ammo. If this happens and you are not confident on survival for the rest of the trip keep travelling and honking/scanning until you find a metal world that you can land on. Once you've found and scanned a world go into the System Map and select that planet and hit cn_RB to see detailed information about the planet. Scroll down to the bottom of this list where it will show the materials you can find. For AFMU munitions you need Nickle, Zinc, Chromium and Vanadium. If the planet has any of these land and use your SRV to hunt for materials (information for landing on planets and gathering materials in the SRV can be found on the Resources and Tutorials page). When you have the materials you need and you're back on your ship, go to your inventory screen by pressing cn_X+cn_right then cn_RB before going down the list on the left to the Synthesis menu, here you can scroll down to AFMU Refill and select which one to restore. There are achievements for SRV collection and Synthesis, but I will bring these up at a later time.

After many, many jumps and honks you will finally arrive in Colonia and as soon as you exit hyperjump you should unlock:

Is there anybody out there?

Visit Colonia

Is there anybody out there?
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperative

Along the way you should have also unlocked:

Popping to the Corner Shop

Travel 1,000 light years from the start

Popping to the Corner Shop
Online Game ModeSingle Player

and

Far from Home

Visit a region outside of the Inner Orion Spur

Far from Home
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperative

Open up your Nav Panel and make your way over to and dock in Jaques Station. Go to the Starport Services screen when you're ready and select Universal Cartographics to sell all of the data you collected on your way here. If you honked and scanned the star in every system and focused on scanning as many water/earth-like/ammonia worlds as possible you should get a great payout (mine was just shy of 48,000,000Cr) and a good boost to your Exploration rank.

Each time you sell a page of data you will be notified if you were the very first person to scan a planet which will give you a little bonus. There are tons of planets that haven't been found or at least not scanned along the way (again for reference I had well over 50 first discoveries). If you did happen to be the first to find a planet you will unlock:

Kepler's Eye

Be first to discover a planet

Kepler's Eye
3 guidesOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperative

With that done you should refuel, restock and repair because the journey isn't over yet! Go into your Galaxy Map and go to the fourth tab. Go down to the filter and select Star Class then check the box next to 'Non Sequence Stars' then go to the plotting tab and in the search field enter Sagittarius A* this will take you to the very centre of the Milky Way which also happens to be a Supermassive Black Hole. Plot your course to Sag A then go ahead and uncheck the box again so you can unclog your map.

When you warp in to Sagittarius A be sure to use that 0% throttle trick I mentioned earlier as getting too close to the black hole can be very dangerous and you don't have a lot of time to slow down. Upon your arrival you will unlock:

Centre of the Galaxy

Visit Sagittarius A

Centre of the Galaxy
3 guidesOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperative

As you made your way to Sagittarius A from Colonia you should have also unlocked:

Where Have You Been?

Travel 25,000 light years from the start

Where Have You Been?
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle Player

You now have one final massive journey ahead of you which is all the way back to The Bubble, this comes with a choice though. If you have a large amount of credits and money isn't something you are terribly worried about you can forego honking and scanning every single system on the way back to The Bubble from Sag A and once you arrive purposefully destroy your ship then opt out of the rebuy to start all the way back in The Bubble at the games starting system/station back in a Sidewinder (you keep your money and all other stored ships you may have in other stations). If however your bank account is not that large yet you can instead continue as you were honking and scanning everything along the way until you get back to inhabited space.

When you finally arrive find yourself a station and sell all of the data you've collected over your journey (if you took the quick way back obviously you will have nothing to sell, buy a new Asp Explorer and give it the same loadout as before). If you didn't buy one earlier on equip your ship with a Vehicle Hanger Bay and buy a Scarab then go to the Galaxy Map and search for the system Synuefe XR-H d11-102 then fly to and scan Planet 1B. Once you've scanned the planet fly into it's orbit and you should be able to lock on to an Ancient Ruins on the planet's surface. Fly down and land your ship as close to the ruins as you can then deploy your SRV.

Before entering the ruins site search the perimeter and you should find a tourist beacon, scan this when you find it to unlock:

Come Visit Me

Scan your first tourist spot

Come Visit Me
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeCollectable

Once you've done that you want to head into the ruins.

Ruins Map

Using the map provided above you want to locate an Alien Casket and Alien Orb, both of which will usually be surrounded by rocks that you can break away with your turret. Once the rocks are clear you need to use your cargo scoop to collect each item. Once you have both of them in your SRV's cargo hold you want to drive the group of alien obelisks marked as group G on the map. Here you should find one of them glowing slightly which allows you to lock onto it. Once you find it lock on and scan it by holding down cn_LB. Once the scan has been complete you will unlock:

Is it dead yet?

Scan a Guardians site

Is it dead yet?
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle Player

Next we are going to hunt for three different Barnacles. Go into your Galaxy Map and search for the system Pleiades Sector JC-U B3-2 and make your way there. Once you arrive honk to reveal everything on the System Map and lock on to Planet 2 then head over and enter the planet's orbit. To find the Barnacle we are going to need to actually use the ships manual navigation systems.

Navigation

The above image shows what each part of the navigation system is used for. To find the Barnacle we are going to be focusing on the Latitude and Longitude as well as the bearing. The location of the Barnacles are

  • Barnacle 1 - Lat - 49.9075, Long - 102.7141
  • Barnacle 2 - Lat - 49.7519, Long - 102.161
  • Barnacle 3 - Lat - 49.5347, Long - 102.0792

To make finding these easier go to the site https://www.hotdoy.ca/ed/bearing/. In the destination fields enter the location of the Barnacle then in the starting fields put in your current latitude and longitude and the site will tell you what bearing you need to be on to reach your destination which can be done by moving your ship either left or right.

Once you have the right bearing continue orbiting the planet until you get reasonably close to your destination then fly in closer to the planet surface to slow yourself down so you can be more precise. When you are roughly in range land your ship and deploy your SRV and go to the site previously mentioned and re-enter your starting lat/long to get a new bearing so you know which direction to drive in. Depending on how close you landed to it you should reach the Barnacle within 5-10 minutes.

When you do find the Barnacle you want to drive right up and lock on to it then hold down cn_LB to scan it, as soon as this is done you will unlock:

This Looks Weird

Scan a barnacle

This Looks Weird
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeCollectable

If you happen to have any cargo racks equipped to your ship it would also be worth your time targeting and destroying the stalks sticking out of the ground as at least one of them should provide you with a rare commodity called a Meta-Alloy which can be sold for a good price or you can take it and use it to unlock one of the games Engineers which you can find more information about on the relevant page.

When you're done with the first Barnacle use the co-ordinates site to locate the next two, scanning all three of these should give you over 250,000Cr worth of data to hand in next time you stop at at starport which will unlock the following achievements

What's This Then?

Redeem 10,000 credits of vouchers from data scanning in the SRV

What's This Then?
Online Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeCumulative +

Data Broker

Redeem 100,000 credits of vouchers from data scanning in the SRV

Data Broker
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeCollectableCumulative +

Databank

Redeem 250,000 credits of vouchers from data scanning in the SRV

Databank
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeCumulative +

If you end up falling a bit short of the 250,000Cr needed then you can use THIS resource to locate other Barnacles, these are the best and safest source of data to sell. Try to avoid Barnacles with Capital ships guarding them, your SRV should be able to handle both turrets and skimmers with ease.

Next up we will deal with Listening Posts, the first can be found in the system HIP 17225, when you enter the system do a scan and it should appear in your Navigation Panel. Head over to it and scan the listening post to get

Listening In

Scan your first listening station

Listening In
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeCollectable

You will need to find a total of 50 of these listening stations across the galaxy. You will know you've finished scanning a listening post when a message appears in your Coms Panel. Below is a list of systems listening stations can be found in.

NOTE: The game crashes often when trying to type in systems on the Galaxy Map. To avoid this use cn_LT to zoom out a reasonable amount before trying to use the search field. For some reason this negates the issue of the game crashing.

SystemClosest Planet/Star
5 Chi Lupi1
42 N PerseiA7
58 EridaniA1
Alpha CentauriB1 (I would skip this one)
BatarA1
BelispelA3
BhadabaA6
BilfrostAB 2
Celaeno1
Chipi1A
Col 285 Sector AZ-B B15-0A (The main star)
Col 285 Sector CI-V B18-0A3
Col 285 Sector DY-F B25-0A3
Col 285 Sector EC-J C10-4ABC1
Col 285 Sector ER-V D2-462
Col 285 Sector FG-X D1-492
Col 285 Sector FW-D C12-24A1
Col 285 Sector GI-H B11-6A (Main star)
Col 285 Sector GM-V D2-72A7
Col 285 Sector GN-H B11-0A
Col 285 Sector IZ-R B20-2A
Col 285 Sector KD-H C11-3A
Col 285 Sector KL-Y B16-25
Col 285 Sector KM-V B18-3A
Col 285 Sector KO-E B26-3A
Col 285 Sector LJ-P C6-17A
Col 285 Sector LU-M C8-6A
Col 285 Sector ML-Z B15-53
Col 285 Sector MY-O B7-2A
Col 285 Sector OR-F B26-2A1
Col 285 Sector PH-E b14-25
Col 285 Sector QA-L C9-31
Col 285 Sector RV-K C9-8A
Col 285 Sector SR-F B13-12
Col 285 Sector YC-F B26-9A
Col 285 Sector YF-O D6-99A1
EE LeonisA
George PantazisA12
Gliese 452.3A
Graffias A
HIP 129594
HIP 16378A
HIP 190724
HIP 495381
HIP 54181A3
HIP 63386A
HIP 73773A1
HIP 97146A
HIP 98328A
HIP 984062
HR 4535A
Hyades Sector EB-X D1-591

There's a little over 50 stations listed above, once you've managed to find and scan enough of them you will unlock:

Wire Tapped

Scan 50 listening stations

Wire Tapped
3 guidesOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeCollectableCumulative +Buggy +

Next up we are going to be hunting down Tourist Beacons - one of which you found when we went searching for the Guardian ruins. Below is a list of beacons to discover. If a beacon is on a planet's surface I will list the planet number or name if it has one. If you do happen to have access to Sol you can find 10 beacons there alone, but I won't be listing permit required systems here.

NameSystemDistance From Arrival
Ringed Garden World19 Phi-2 Ceti1,144.54Ls (Planet AB2)
Ringed BinariesApam Napat17Ls
Ammonia RingsAucoks OH-D B18-3190Ls
Waterside ViewBD+22 38782,248Ls (Planet 5)
Lava WorldBetelgeuse2,451.43Ls (Planet 1)
Nebula's HeartCD-26 1339633Ls (Land on 1st planet of second sun A2A)
Zen CraterCol 285 Sector NE-G C11-32 2,566Ls (Land on Planet AB3)
Hot JupiterCol 285 Sector RF-C B14-715Ls
Jeweled RingsHecate1,900Ls (Land on Planet 5A)
Fire and IceHIP 957165.7Ls
Ring Close UpHR 15972,441.23Ls (Land on Planet 7)
Rare WorldLTT 18046 345Ls
The Battle of LughLugh5.55Ls
In MemoryLugh57.6Ls (Land on Planet 4)
Last DefenceLugh1,030.75Ls (Planet 8)
Lugh VictoryLugh225Ls
Maia Black HoleMaia301,775Ls (You can skip this if you want)
Ice CanyonsMillcayac1,230Ls (Land on Planet 1A)
Blue LightMintaka1,027Ls (Land on planet 4, be careful - 2.4x gravity)
Distant Worlds Expedition 3302Pallaeni0.60Ls
Epic Mountain RangePomech1,149.38 (Land on Planet 2C)
Changing SkyRoss 105723.0Ls
Hind Nebula View T Tauri1,620.23Ls (Land on Planet A2 A)
Reorte ReclaimedReorte9.36Ls
Highliner Antares LostLuyten 205-12823.7Ls
Gateway HistoryGateway300Ls
Holiacan History Holiacan72Ls
Indaol HistoryIndaol44.8Ls (Land on Planet 1)
Olgrea HistoryOlgrea3,192Ls (Planet C7)
Wrekcht's RaidAndceeth500Ls
Genetic Research CleansedFawaol1,041Ls (Planet Tracy)
The Empire's LossZeessze491Ls
Faveol HostilitiesLiaedin346.31Ls (Land on Ulrich's Rock)
Olban's SuccessionLiaedin2,162Ls
Ashfield's DeathZeaex209.08Ls (Land on Ashfield's World
Olban's DiplomacyZeaex300Ls
The Emperor's OwnLaedla405Ls
Ackwada DiscoveryAckwada5Ls
Rockforth Corporation FoundingAckwada497Ls
Lanner's VictoryAckwada497Ls
Lanner's PrivateerAckwada497Ls
The Dien W'rit EstateAckwada497Ls
Grant Keller's ElectionAckwada2,040.18Ls (Planet 4)
Yorkville PatriotsAckwada2,040.18Ls (Land on Planet 4A)
Quince Visitor BeaconQuince684Ls
Gaylen's AscensionQuince2,065.88Ls (New America)
O'Brien's WarCemiess89.5Ls
Commander Salomé HijackedCemiess428Ls
TerraformingCemiess561Ls
ProxmireCemiess600Ls
Atticus AscensionExioce 228Ls

Once fifty locations have been visited you will unlock:

Pack Your Camera

Scan 50 tourist spots

Pack Your Camera
5 guidesOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeCollectableCumulative +

There are tons of other places you can go if you wish to, more locations can be found Here

Next up we have the Codex entries, you may have gotten these during your travels but if not we can work on them now.

The first is the easiest as it simply requires that you scan 10 different types of celestial bodies which includes the different types of stars and planets within the game. You can see what you have already discovered by going to your Codex screen by pressing cn_X+cn_right then go to the Discoveries panel. On the next screen select Astronomical Bodies and you can see all the different kinds. As soon as you scan one you that body will have its blue tick counter increased, just find 10 different bodies and you will unlock

Seeing Stars

Make 10 stellar body Codex discoveries

Seeing Stars
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeCollectableCumulative +

Next we have Biological and Geological entries. Go into the Discoveries menu again and this time select the Biological and Geological menu and select any of the different kinds available (for example Fumarole). A new window will pop up with a drop down for the different variations of that entry, select any of the dropdowns that appear and you can see the Reported Location for that entry. Simply fly to that system and begin scanning planets to find any geological or biological points of interest then fly down to investigate and using the SRV's Composition Scanner scan them if they are either the one you are looking for or another entry you haven't found before. As soon as you have scanned 5 different entries you will unlock

Life Finds a Way

Make 5 Biological or Geological Codex discoveries

Life Finds a Way
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeCollectableCumulative +Buggy -

The last Codex related achievement is for finding Xenological entries which includes both Thargoid and Guardian discoveries. I found the easiest way to do this is to go with Guardian entries as it requires less travel. Travel to Synuefe IL-N C23-19 and when you arrive do a honk and identify all planets with the FSS. Once done point your ship in the direction of each planet and when you find the right one you should be able to instantly lock-on to a Guardian Site without needing to map each planet to find it first.

Land your ship a reasonable distance away from the Guardian site as there are skimmers that might attack. With your SRV drive over to the site and you should be able to find a Guardian Codex, Guardian Data Terminal, Guardian Relic Tower and Guardian Sentinel (skimmer) all within the one set of ruins. As soon as you have scanned all four return to your ship and this time head to the system HIP 36823, once you arrive honk and open the Navigation Panel where you should be able to lock-on to the Guardian Beacon. Fly over to it and enter its instance to scan the beacon with the Composition Scanner (you made need to assign it in your Fire Groups). Once the beacon has been scanned you will unlock

Xeno Fanatic

Make 5 xenological Codex discoveries

Xeno Fanatic
2 guidesOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeCollectableCumulative +

All that's left to do now is attain our Elite ranking. The easiest way to do this by far is to return to the Road to Riches tool http://edtools.ddns.net/expl.php. Simply put in the name of whatever system you're currently in and follow the instructions given, be sure to only bother stopping at the planets listed for maximum efficiency. Be sure to stop in at a station every now and then to sell your data and once you hit around 300,000,000Cr in sold exploration data you will hit Elite. If this is your first or third rank you will unlock either

Elitist

Get an Elite Ranking

Elitist
1 guideOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeLevelTime Consuming

Or

Triple Elite

Reach a rank of Elite in Exploration, Combat and Trading

Triple Elite
4 guidesOnline Game ModeSingle PlayerCooperativeLevelTime Consuming

Once done you can move to one of the other career paths.

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