For clarity...I definitely support Option 1. More skill gap, please.snip
Option 1: Exploration Data worth much more based on distance from nearest stations, total loss on failure, probably needs more stellar phenomena 'risks' as features (occassional FSD malfunctions, even at 100%, unique reactions to certain nebulae or star types, gravity more severe...etc.)
Option 2: Exploration Data worth less, not based on distance, total loss on failure but can be recovered, essentially grunt work that pays for time invested not skill.
Honestly, I do want more payout...but I'd trade more payout for more things that can kill me in the black. Space Madness is not a feature - it's the power button on my console. MOAR WAYZ 2 DIE PLZ. Extra points for unique cockpit explosion sequences (because if I'm gonna melt to death, I wanna see the frame of my poor ship reflect that so that the PTSD from losing my data has a dramatic picture to go with it).