Distant Worlds II Event Science Department


The Distant Worlds 2 Science Department

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Dedicated to understanding and expanding public knowledge, the Distant Worlds 2 scientists are primarily data gatherers and analysts. We are also at the forefront of exploration, always keeping tabs on new discoveries and odd sightings from fellow commanders, and helping them by performing research as needed, or putting our skills at disposal of other departments.

As a member of the Distant Worlds 2 Science Department, you will be tasked with helping to understand the many things that are discovered during this expedition. You will spend your time expanding our understanding of the galaxy, both by contributing to specific projects as well as helping to gather a robust store of data that will be useful for years to come.


Data collection and analytics

The scanning and journal changes introduced in 3.3 collect a wealth of data using a more engaging and interactive mechanic than previously. This makes the data we collect more valuable than ever. The DW2 Science Department will assist and support the collection and analysis of this data, making it available for future science projects via a flexible analytics system.

The Galactic Mapping Project

One of the earliest exploration projects, The Galactic Mapping Project collects unique and interesting points of interest into a general catalog both on the forums and within EDSM. The Galactic Mapping Project is currently not taking submissions, as the team assesses the new features introduced in 3.3, but it will begin taking submissions again after February 1st, 2019. We will both investigate existing points of interest along the route to see if they have changed, as well as searching for new points of interest to expand the GMP catalog.


The Science Department will publish the status and results of our investigations, as well as regularly publishing science-oriented articles related to the expedition and the regions of the galaxy we are traveling through. Elite Dangerous models the galaxy to an unprecidented level among video games, and it is our goal to encourage understanding of both the galaxy as represented in the game as well as the real galaxy in which we all live.

The Trans-Galactic Metallicity Survey

A project devoted to understanding how the Stellar Forge models metallicity, the Trans-Galactic Metallicity Survey uses data collected during the expedition to attempt to create a map of metallicity in the galaxy.

Stellar Density Mapping

Excellent for console players!
Our route takes us through the core and out to some of the most sparsely populated areas of the galaxy. Participating in stellar density mapping will help understand the distribution of stars in Elite Dangerous' galaxy. This is a spiritual continuation of Jackie Silver's work on mapping stellar density, and is especially well suited for console players, as all the data you need is in the UI.

And More!

Bring your own curiosity and your own ideas for projects, or just come along for the ride! Anyone interested in developing a deeper understanding of the science behind Elite Dangerous' model of the galaxy is welcome!

New Scientist's Guide

If you'd like to get involved but you've never participated in this sort of thing before, here's what you need:

Gear: You will want a DSS to participate in these projects, but no other special fitting is required.

Useful links and tools for scientists:
  • EDSM A database of systems in the galaxy, including an interactive map with all of the Galactic Mapping Project points of interest
  • Distant Worlds 2 Discovery Submissions A database of interesting discoveries on this expedition
  • EDDiscovery (PC only) A tool that runs alongside Elite Dangerous. EDDiscovery has many useful features for explorers. For our purposes, we primarily use it to sync scan data with EDSM
  • EDMC (PC only) Another tool that runs alongside Elite Dangerous. It is more trade oriented than EDDiscovery, but it puts a lighter load on your computer and still supports syncing your scan data with EDSM

Setting up a program to sync scan data with EDSM
This unfortunately is only possible on PC. If you don't already have an EDSM account, create one. Click on your avatar and then click on "API Key" on the dropdown below it.

This will take you to a page with your API key. Copy that.

If you're using EDDiscovery, go to the settings tab, select your commander in the list, and click edit.

This will open the commander configure screen. In the "EDSM Information" section, enter your EDSM user name and API key.

If you're using EDMC, it will automatically send your scan data to EDDN (the data network used by EDSM).
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Ooh ooh, where can I get this curiosity module? :D

Fwiw I'm bringing a Xeno scan and probably a pulse wave to poke at the biologicals. Probably ineffective but gonna try. Had to drop the repair limpet controller in favour of a collector for the mining CG so no longer can be a mechanic. Happy to bring my uneducated observations to science :)
Reporting in, CMDRs! Happy to contribute to this project. I'll be bringing my mining cutter for the first leg. Perhaps we can discover new materials out there?
I'm all in! I installed a research limpet controller and a xeno scanner just in case - figure they might come in handy.
Cmdr Fernandofilipe86 reporting for duty!
I have a Phantom fully engineered with 5A shield and 500 boost to explore high gravity planets. If you found something to see, please say something. That´s my primary role!
I´m in a wing with a Fleet support Anaconda just in case. If you need help with something during the trip add me on PS4 :)
Reporting in, with the Imperial Science Vessel "Curved Perspectives", fitted with a 16T Corrosion Resistant Cargo Rack, a Research Limpet Controller, a Detailed Surface Scanner, a Xeno Scanner, a Chaff Launcher, a 0F Shutdown Field Neutraliser and even a Pulse Laser in case space based life only responses to lasers.

Lets get sciencing as fast as we can!
Stellar Density Mapping - How To Guide

Background - warning, very long thread

This project is an extension of work done by Bald Eagle, Jackie Silver, marx, MattG, and Rollo Rhadium, measuring the change in stellar density (Scale Height) of the galaxy in different places. This can be used to generate a map of stellar density, and has implications with route finding and exploration.

The technique for measuring this is simple: Fly a column stretching from the galactic plane "up" about 1000 light years, measuring the stellar density ("rho") along the way. For a single column, this generates a graph like this:

Graph by Jackie Silver

This project is especially suited for console players, because it only uses the galaxy map and the nav panel.

How to perform a density scan

Before you begin, you'll need some way to record the values. Google Spreadsheets is ideal. I use a single spreadsheet, with a sheet tab for each density scan "column".

Open the galaxy map. You'll see coordinates on it that looks like this: "-390 : -27 : 4,280". The important one for us is the middle one, which measures "height" above the plane of the galaxy, or "Z". Pick a star on the map where Z = -20 and fly there. IMPORTANT: CLEAR YOUR AUTOPILOT ONCE YOU ARRIVE! SETTING THE AUTOPILOT AFFECTS WHAT YOU SEE ON THE NAV PANEL, WHICH ALTERS THE RESULTS OF THE SCAN!

Now you'll look at your nav panel. You'll see that it shows systems nearby. It tries to show systems within 20 light years, but if there are more than 50, it only shows the 50 nearest, including the system you are in. So the first thing you want to do is count them. If there are 50, then you are in a dense area of space. If there are less than 50, you are in a sparse area of space.

If you are in a dense area of space, you will want to note the distance shown in the last system in your nav panel, which we'll call "r". This lets us estimate the density as rho = 50 / ((4pi/3) * (r^3)). If you are in the FleetComm discord, you can use the bot Jaques to calculate rho with the command "@Jaques rho_dense <r>".

If you are in a sparse area of space, you will want to note the number of star systems in the nav panel (including the system you are in), which we'll call "n". This lets us estimate the density as rho = n / ((4pi/3) * (20^3)). If you are in the FleetComm discord, you can use Jaques again, with the command "@Jaques rho_sparse <n>".

Neither method is perfect, but in practice they're good enough for our purpose.

Record this number in your spreadsheet, along with the system name. In my spreadsheets, I also include coordinates, but those aren't strictly speaking necessary. If you would like to include coordinates, EDDiscovery can give you those for the system you are in.

Now fly 50 light years up, to Z = 30 and do the same thing again. Keep flying up, repeating this process of gathering data and calculating rho until you reach Z = 980. Congratulations! You've done a density scan column! It's best to do them as close to vertical as you can. If you're in "proc gen" space, it's easy to tell if you're flying vertically enough because all the systems will start with the same prefix ("Traikaae", for instance).

A vertical density scan column. FLY THIS MANUALLY, DO NOT USE THE AUTOPILOT!

A completed set of density scans

It takes about an hour to do a full column, so it's not necessarily something you would want to do too often. I usually do one every day or two, whenever the whim strikes me. Once you've assembled a few weeks worth of scans, send me a link and I'll include it in the analysis. For Science!
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I believe I have set up my EDDiscovery correctly and linked all the API's so hopefully my data is coming through. Is there any way of finding out?
Probably the easiest way to find out is to find a system near you that hasn't been scanned, look it up on EDSM (and verify that it hasn't been scanned), scan it, and then see if EDSM has data for it with your name on it.

I'm not sure how much of a delay there is before EDSM gets your data, but that'll tell you for sure.
EDSM is picking it up :)
Are you getting the data specific to the survey from there or do I need to send it to you separately, i.e. spread sheet with F/G/K stars and nearest gas giant?
Is there a way of attaching the spread sheet to a PM to you or where shall I send it/post it?
If this is TGMS data, just send me a list of systems from your bookmarks.

If this is stellar density scan data, you can send me a link to a google spreadsheet.

Question on density scan: are multiple stars in a system counted individually or as just one? Yesterday I had seven systems in a column with counts greater than 50 (e.g., Ellaidst VY-S d3-309 with 52). It seemed to correlate with the stars in the system, 52 for three star systems and 51 for two star systems.
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