- What is the Dumbbell Project?

The Dumbbell project is an initiative started within the Alliance Elite Diplomatic Corps (AEDC) during April 3301, after the Alliance of Independent Systems announced their colonization programme. The initial scope of our project was to provide good colonization targets within the Dumbbell Sector to build on existing lore. Over time it has developed into a much larger goal; the complete survey of the sector!

For that, we in the AEDC have catalogued the systems within the sector, approximately 9000 of them in a 100ly radius around the Dumbbell Nebula (BD+22 3878). The Dumbbell Sector's borders are a little over 1000 LY from Sol, so this is a good exercise for explorers who want to make small excursions instead of going deep into the black, while also contributing to something greater!

- Why do this?
From a gameplay perspective exploration can be a lonely experience, this project allows exploration to be a group activity to share discoveries and to create a goal to achieve. We had thought about complete galactic exploration but we decided to start small(ish)! There are no time limits and no rewards, except for the satisfaction of exploring and discovering what the sector contains as a community! You can come and go as you please or simply observe the progress being made. It's open to everyone!

We discussed the idea of detailed recording of every planet in the system but that was too time consuming and you'd spend more time entering data on a spreadsheet than exploring. That's why we went for a simpler approach (see below). Also, if colonisation did happen Universal Cartographics could share the data for surrounding systems with the associated minor factions for a price. We’ve currently recorded 361 objects of interest in the sector:

8 Earth-likes
40 Water candidates for terraforming (cfts)
54 Water worlds
238 High Metal Content cfts
6 Rocky cfts
15 Ammonia worlds.

Progress Update: 11/06/3303
14 Earth-likes
76 Water candidates for terraforming (cfts)
114 Water worlds
361 High Metal Content cfts
7 Rocky cfts
28 Ammonia worlds.

- What do we aim to achieve?

The end result will be a list of potentially interesting or colonisable worlds for the entire community to examine and utilise for future reference. If there’s sufficient interest in this idea we can catalogue other sectors for detailed scanning in the future, 1 sector at a time. We can make a list of sectors and put it to a community vote if there's somewhere of interest to scan. All suggestions are welcome. This project could also overlap with or build upon initiatives created by other exploration groups, e.g. the Pioneer’s Cooperative competition to find an earth-like planet towards Sag A. Once a suitable location has been found, detailed scans of the surrounding area could be undertaken to discover the potential for further colonisation of the region. There’s also interesting possibilities to develop a new player driven exploration story arc or to build on existing lore. How will the various stories evolve and interact? Time will tell…

2016 (or 3302 depending on your timezone) has begun with multiple exciting exploration initiatives, each providing opportunities to make exploration more entertaining and fun for both the individual and the community as a whole!

-What can I do to contribute?

Exploring and fill in a simple spreadsheet to track progress.

The ultimate goal of this project is to scan everything in the sector, including rocky and icy bodies (but not asteroid belts). In simple terms, the goal is to have a commander name tag on every body that can have one and belongs in a Dumbbell Sector XX-X system. A person is not obliged to do this, but it should be noted whether a system is not fully scanned like further instructed below to allow other commanders to complete the system.

The doc includes 2 spreadsheets. One of them has all the systems in the sector in Alphabetical order (Dumbbell Sector Systems List), the second (Dumbbell Sector Planets of Interest) has a list of systems with at least something interesting in them. (i.e. the 6 planet types listed earlier)

The first sheet is the main indicator of our progress and the background colour indicates whether a system is surveyed or not.

A blank/white background means that the system is not recorded yet, so are the remaining objective.

Step 1
select a background colour for your commander (e.g. orange). This color code implies that the system is fully scanned, but not turned in yet. It’s main function is to avoid multiple commanders scanning the same systems and allowing commanders to claim first discoveries if they wish to. Additionally, it is requested that some respect is shown and systems turned orange are not sniped. Simply put, it's a "It will go green as soon as I get home indicator.". Please reserve it for only full scans.

Step 2
This brings us to green. Green background means that the system has been fully discovered and every body is tagged. A general practice would be for a commander to turn all of their oranges to green when finally docking to turn them in, since accidents may happen on the way back home. We’ll gladly assist with turning your chosen commander colour to green if you have a lot of systems when you sell your data. Simply make a note or post in the forum. :)

Wrapping the colour coding up is yellow. Yellow indicates that a system is partially scanned and requires a return visit to complete. e.g. if a system has a star 500ls away and you don’t want to travel to it, you can move on and mark the system yellow.

Step 3
And that brings us to the second sheet, Dumbbell Sector Planets of Interest. This sheet has two uses. It is a document for input of interesting systems and a list of said systems for people to earn some extra cash should they wish to. If you come across something interesting, please remember to include here. Just use the same format at the bottom.

Don't exert yourself with the alphabetic order stuff, we will do that for you so that you don't have to. :)

A reminder to newer explorers who want to dive in that discounts for exploration ships are available:
Hamilton Gateway, Wolf 406 - 20% on Diamondback Explorer.
Irkutsk, Alioth (requires permit from Alioth Independents) - 20% on Asp Explorer.

We also prepared a little story relating to the project. We hope the community enjoys this idea and we look forward to sharing our discoveries!

Blog post and Sector Map Images

Galnet Article