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Thread: The Accidental Journey - My Exploration Log

  1. #1

    The Accidental Journey - My Exploration Log

    Exploration Log - The Test Flight

    As some of you already know, I've been fine tuning my Asp config over the last few weeks while trading to make the money to pay for it. Here's the final configuration I settled on:,0m...Ke0Ke0Ke2UI2jw

    I took it to the edge of the core last night intending to pop into deep space for the evening, then return to the station before shutting down for the night. I wanted to test the systems and make sure everything worked as it should before firing myself into the big black. However, events conspired to dramatically change those plans as I shall explain.

    First, while sitting on the outpost pad, I opened the galaxy map to choose a star at random 250 LY away. I avoided all nebulae and areas where I knew others had been. I simply plotted an economical course into a cluster of stars. There was nothing special about the one I chose. The name was almost identical to the dozens surrounding it and I could see nothing special. It just happened to be where I clicked.

    Launching off the pad, I knew I was leaving civilization behind, but felt little trepidation as I knew I'd be back soon enough.

    My first experiences were somewhat harried. There must have been a sale on Vipers that I missed because almost every system I hit past "civilized space" had one. To be fair, there were numerous sideys, Adders, Pythons and even an Anaconda as well, but the Vipers stood out due to numbers. If I spotted a fighter, I jumped away, but I did suffer several interdictions. While the Asp engine proved excellent to out-run pursuers, the small shields I'd fitted were a godsend. They took the impact of the few shots that did land and my hull took no damage at all. These were all NPC's. Luckily, I have not met another CMDR yet.

    Still, in-between the harassment, I did survey quite a few systems. It became obvious that others had been this way as most of the "low hanging fruit", primary stars and nearby planets, had all been discovered by others. This left the outer planets and other suns at further distance, but from reading other posts I kept the supercruise to a minimum and simply went to the next system.

    In time, I got a little frustrated with not being able to find any undiscovered systems. The inner stars were all claimed and outer planets were too far away. There were a few systems where all of the planets and moons were explored and I acknowledged those as noble efforts. Dropping into a system, blowing the fog horn of discovery, then scanning the star and moving on is like exploring London from an Underground carriage. I decided if I found a system I would try to cover as much of it as I could.

    That being said, I could only stop in every third system because of the fighter presence. I left weapons off my Asp deliberately so I would not be tempted to fight. For several hours, I kept checking system maps to find that everything convenient had been claimed. I was about to turn around, tired of the evasions and lack of progress. Then it happened. I dropped into a system within a cluster of stars that had all been explored. I hit the discovery scanner and found a trinary star system right in the middle of them. The three stars had not been discovered and there were numerous worlds. "Yes..." I think to myself, then I see a sidey hovering. I was about to leave, but stuck around to see if I could at least scan the stars when the sidey moved away from me. Startled at this, I took the opportunity to scan the two closest stars. The sidey kept its distance so I began on the planets. I scanned at least nine heavy metal worlds mixed in with some ice planets and frozen rocks. As I moved toward the planets the sidey kept it's distance. The cherry on the cake was the last planet which turned out to be a water world.

    That changed everything moodwise. I spent several more hours finding more and more systems. The fighter numbers dropped off as did the names of discovering CMDR's on the systems. I'm now out in a region of space where few have been before.

    I finally reached the target star I had set to navigate too. It was nothing special and the inner planets had all been discovered by others. I clicked on the only unexplored planet, a gas giant. Seeing it was 165K away I decided to head back to civilized space. However, a quick review of my ship showed me everything was still at 100% and on the spur of the moment I decided to go see it before turning for home.

    It only took 6-7 minutes and I ended up beside a blood-red Class I Gas Giant. I circled it a few times and made sure to scan it although I was sure no one would ever go out there again given it had been claimed. I would probably be the only person to ever see this in the game and that made the trip worthwhile. This had been my own personal pilgrimage and I named it the Red Pilgrim Gas Giant in my head.

    I opened the galaxy map to return back to the station and paused. I would have to make my way past those fighters both back in and then back out again. I looked in the other direction and saw endless stars. With my ship still at 100%, I turned for the big black and kept going.

    Now I wish I could end on such a high and positive note, but I was later navigating around a star to get to an unexplored inner planet when I saw a flash of glare from the right side of the screen. I put that down to the cockpit side light which flares every now and then (Please let us turn these lights off FDevs). Just as I think, "This exploring lark is easy" temperature alarms go off and I turn to see I'm right beside the star. Firing off a heat sink combined with fast maneuvering limits the damage.

    Now my hull is down to 98% thanks to my hubris. I shall endeavour to not repeat that stupidity. I do have a plan and intend to follow it. We'll see where I end up. I'll update this thread as I go. Thanks to everyone who answered my noob questions and gave advice on my Asp load-out. It is very much appreciated.

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    Distance from Sol.

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    My first unexplored ringed world.

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    The Red Pilgrim Gas Giant, >165K out.

  2. #2
    Thanks for posting about exploration, I've been mostly exploring since late December, and while a lot of people complain about it, it's nice to just be out in the middle of nowhere discovering new things.

    Lately any forays into civilized space lead to me getting interdicted by ASP's and Vipers, I must have been interdicted by those two ships like 5 times. I usually run but if I get interdicted by a Sidewinder I usually dish out some death.

    When I started, we couldn't tell who discovered what so I felt like I really was somewhere where there wasn't any other players. Now, I know that the areas I hit weren't really undiscovered but it was fun to imagine it. Now I can get a little further out into areas where no one has been and that is always interesting. I haven't chatted with another player on Elite in over a month right now and I really don't mind because honestly, I got used to gaming without internet and I like single player games anyways, so being solitary doesn't bother me.

    Losing focus and almost flying into the sun, I've almost done that before. I almost did it when I was fuel scooping, I looked away and left my hand on the keyboard while talking to my sister, I suddenly hear temperature warning and I'm like uh oh.

    Do you have the advanced discovery scanner?

  3. #3
    Tis a nice ship set up.
    Glad to her you made it out beyond to mark your name

  4. #4
    Nice set up. I've got an exploration Asp too, but I didn't have as much money available to spend as you... I couldn't afford that 5A FSD.
    Need to make some more credits for the extra tweaks I fancy making to my ship. I'm envious of the big range that you've got!

  5. #5
    It's great to kit out an Asp and just head out into the black. I set out a while ago with a specific nebula near the galactic centre in mind...I got less than half-way there before I realised I was just passing the Eagle Nebula...I took a detour to go and visit it, and found a Herbig Ae/Be star. Then I browsed the galactic map for more, and whilst zooming in/out I found another one in a very interesting location about 6,000 Ly from where I was, I am a very slow explorer (I scan too much and don't play as often as I like, and this week the 1.2 Beta with the devcam was too much of a distraction too!) and I'm only about half way there - that will put me even further from my initial target than ever (possibly even further away than when I started!).

    Not quite sure where I'll go next, I guess I'll find out when I get there.

    Oh - by the way, the Eagle Nebula is amazing, really really beautiful - I cannot recommend that you visit enough...if you have a chance, swing by there!

    -- Pete.

  6. #6
    Shadragon's Log

    Stardate: Thursday, ummm, point two.

    Position Update:

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    Ship Hull: 98%
    System modules: All at 100%

    Encountering many multi-sun / multi-planet systems with the odd single or binary system having no planetary bodies. After a long run of finding many undiscovered systems, I'm now seeing CMDR names more often. Encountered a five sun system with gas giants and heavy metal worlds last night. One of those Class I gas giants had a massive ring system and I used the debug camera for the first time. Brilliant piece of kit that. Will post the images at a later point once I get a chance to go through them.

    Q: What's the most numbers of suns in a single system anyone has encountered so far?

    Progress is slow but steady. Average time in a system is 15-45 minutes depending on number of bodies and their distance apart. There are some LARGE systems out here. I'd guesstimate my average system jump is 6 LY but my path is "economical" so it zigzags quite a bit from my base course.

    Fuel scooping is going well, even with the 1.2 temp changes. Now I know 100% is the hard limit, I keep my average temp to the 55-65% range. If it gets higher than 70% I pull away and restart the process. Not risking damage for any reason. No smoking dash or ill effects noted so far during refuels. I'm scooping quite often to keep my tank full and have found many non-scoopable stars in my journey. No low fuel situations yet. My tank has not dipped below 90% to date.

    Shadragon's First Rule of Exploration: When there is the slightest doubt or issue, reduce speed immediately.

    I got a private message from a starting explorer asking me what my methodology was going from system to system. I thought this may be of interest to others, so here it is.

    I built this checklist up from posts on the subject and my own personal experience. I'd be interested in your input.

    1 - Enter hyperspace to go to next system.

    2 - While in witch space, I press and hold "reduce throttle" key.

    3 - I enter the system with forward speed at 30 KM/s to avoid star impact.

    4 - Blow fog horn of discovery.

    5 - Check for fighters in system. If one (or more!) is spotted, scan primary sun, then jump onto next system. (Note: Fighters have not been a concern for 150LY or so.)

    6 - Check system map to see if it has already been discovered and if not, plan survey. Primary star first, then closest planet, then next one and so on. Avoid asteroid belts. If fuel top-up is required (and the star is scoopable), I refuel on the way to the first target.

    7 - There may be distant suns or planetary bodies in the system. I have no hard and fast rule about a maximum distance I will not traverse, but I balance what I'll gain versus the wear and tear on the ship to get there.

    8 - When done surveying the system (or if a fighter jumps in - keep your eyes open for that in border space.)

    9 - Select the next system in my NAV path. Go to step one.

    Safe exploring everyone.

  7. #7
    Position update:

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    Just a few things of interest I've found so far. Okay, okay... Just my excuse for hero shots.

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  8. #8
    Nice. Looks like you are like me, have been spending far too much time with the de-bug camera. I got some nice ones of a water and ammonia world in the same system, the water world was also mainly ammonia. I am away from the beast so I cant upload any photos at the mo, but will do later.

  9. #9
    Position Update:

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    Ship hull: 98%
    Modules : all 100%

    Been making my way through several systems slowly but surely. Found several interesting systems including one with three water worlds. That brings my tally to:

    Earth like: 0
    Water world: 10+ (Lost count, but more than ten certainly. I found five today alone.)

    Plus hundreds of mineral rich and gas giants.

    After watching some of CMDR Granite (Obsidian Ant) video, I've modified my approach and am skipping areas that will take up too much time to explore. As a result, the speed of my approach to the galactic edge has increased and should take about another month at present speed. The stars are beginning to thin out a little and the average jump is now in the 11-12 LY range. Scooping is still not an issue and I have a full tank.

    Here's a few selfies highlighting the more interesting items I found:

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  10. #10
    Young Jedi, you have the bug

    Good luck, you will be alone for a long time and when you do head back, resist the tempation to scan stars within 500ly of Sol and just jump / scoop / jump back home.

  11. #11
    I went back onto my PC last night after dinner to spend a couple of hours exploring. The first system I visited had an Earth like planet within a bunch of heavy metal worlds. What a way to start the evening, I tell you.

    So, updated stats:

    Earth like: 1
    Water world: 12+

    Still at 98% hull and everything is working fine. Will be back at it tonight after work.

  12. #12
    Just passed the three thousand LY range from SOL and I'm stuck.

    Was trying to get away from a series of discovered systems and took a side track. Found tons of systems, but all were taken. I noticed the number of solar systems listed in the side panel was shrinking, but no problem making headway. Then I see a star on the map that is 32.40 LY away. My max range is 32.42 with full tank so I took it. I landed in a system with three scoopable stars, water worlds, heavy metals and gas giants. All undiscovered. (Rubbing hands nefariously) mu-hahahahaha. Mine, all mine.

    Set a course in the general direction I wanted and headed out travelling 250+ LY without issue. Then I hit the wall. No matter which way I select a route, the nav computer says "route unavailable". Up, down, left, right, it's like I'm in a bubble 300 LY across with no way out save backtracking. I'm not on the fringes, I'm in a spiral arm!

    The thing is, I can manually trace a route through the numerous stars and it looks like the average jump is 10-15 LY most of the way. There are no huge gaps. I can't tell where the issue is exactly because of the VERY limited tools available on the navigation map. The plot does not stop its path at the problem star, it just throws the error with no detail. Ideally, I need something to tell me how far star A is from star B while I'm at star C.

    I've shut everything down for the night and I'll look at it with fresh eyes tomorrow. Don't want to do anything stupid. Lots of scoopables and I have a full tank so at least that's not a worry. Backtracking will take me a few hours and I really don't want do that. Will try a manual plot on my next session and work my way forward star - by - star as best as I can until I find where it's breaking down.


  13. #13
    I'm out of trouble.

    Started out 3,330 LY away from SOL and unable to go any further in the direction I wanted and had to backtrack. Now I'm 2680 LY from SOL and after six hours and a great circle route to get around the impassable dead space I'm back on course and in undiscovered space again.

    I found a second way out of the dead space bubble which involved seven 30+ LY jumps. This was in spite of the nav computer being unable to calculate a route through. I suspect the nav computer has issues with switchbacks. It only looks for stars that are in the general direction of travel and does not look back. That's what I had to do, go forward, go back, then forward again. Luckily, each star was scoopable and undiscovered which ended up giving me an Earth like and series of water worlds.

    Still I lost 500+ LY and the time needed to figure this out. As a result, I'm heading in a direction I was not planning on, but see lots of stars before me. Onwards.

    Updated stats:

    Earth like: 2
    Black holes: 2
    Water world: 22+

  14. #14
    Position Update:

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    Updated stats:

    Earth like: 3
    Black holes: 2
    Water world: 31+

    Hull: 98%
    Modules: 100%

    Shadragon's Second Rule of Exploration: Never point your ship directly at any planetary body, unless you are focused on the screen and have your hands on the controls.

    Am back in space where the long range plots are working again. Whew. Am currently in the middle of a spiral arm with many young stars so pickings are decent. My original path is gone because of my extreme detour and now I'm meandering my way back in that direction, but in a very round about way. Still navigating economically and stopping to examine each system I encounter. I've come up with a zig zag course that avoids the areas I think will be heavily traveled by other CMDR's and as a result I'm only seeing one or two discovered systems out of the five hundred or so I surveyed.

    No desire to turn around at this point and the ship is performing well. No additional damage since I steered into the sun on week one. I see vids of explorers coming back with shattered canopies and 12% hull, but I've been very fortunate to date. I'm taking the "Captain Slow of the Galaxy" approach in that I reduce speed whenever scanning to keep myself as far away from trouble as possible. I am concerned about my hull integrity, but as I cannot see that until I redock, I'm forced to ignore it.

    Found a system with an explored sun and checked the system map out of habit. There I spotted a blue and white Earth like planet. I hovered over it, expecting to see, "Discovered by XXXXX", but it wasn't. Whoever had blown through the system had missed it! I certainly didn't.

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    A series of heavy metal systems followed. I must have found a dozen systems in a row with many metal worlds. Check this one out:

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    What's the record for bodies in a system (Not counting asteroid belts, of course). There's 59 here.

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    Big and small, I saw them all.

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    Heavy metal planet with 5.7 Earth masses.

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    Dinky and dim ringed sun - Dwarf Class S.

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    Two terraformable HM planets in close proximity.

  15. #15
    i don't recall the record for bodies in a system - but my personal best is 104

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