Guide to Space Exploration

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So you want to explore space, huh? Better familarise yourself with Z-levels and everything you need to become a proper spaceman, as well as how to maximise your ruin-finding potential. Space exploration is not easy and can be frustrating, but you will get to explore areas infrequenlty visited and may get some incredibly rare items. Or you could die in seconds.

Introduction to Space

Space has three qualities that make it harmful to human life - the lack of pressure, the freezing cold, and the lack of oxygen to breathe. In order to go out into space for any significant length of time, you will need to find solutions to these three problems. The lack of pressure and cold can be solved by a hardsuit, as these protect from lack of pressure and have integrated temperature regulators for keeping warm. However, the cell of the hardsuit will eventually run dry and need to be replaced. This involves taking the hardsuit off, so it is best to replace these within a pressurised room. The next problem is oxygen, and this can easily be solved with a basic internals mask and a large oxygen canister that can be found almost anywhere; it will fit in your suit storage and last for a very long time (much less if your hardsuit has an integrated jetpack, which is the next problem). Another thing that will not kill you but will make space travel generally a massive inconvenience is the lack of gravity - a jetpack will solve this, but will consume fuel very quickly. Highly recommended to bring a refueling canister and never use your jetpack for internals - this will only drain your reserves faster.

What will you need?

Essential :

Highly recommended :

  • Jetpack - get from EVA or craft one yourself (you will need 2 large oxygen tanks, a fire extinguisher, 3 pipe and 30 cable coil).
  • Tools and a toolbelt - these are present in EVA on most maps, if some greytiding mime already broke in, go to cargo and get more from their autolathe. You will need tools, particularly a crowbar, if you want to actually enter space ruins. Read the guide to hacking for help.
  • Insulated gloves OR an RCD - you will need one of these to hack open/deconstruct airlocks, but you will never need both.
  • Meson goggles or engineering scanning goggles, switched to meson mode - allows you to see potential ruins with no hassle.
  • Flashlight - exploration of unpowered space ruins.
  • A GPS, or two - makes finding the White Ship trivial and is, unsurprisingly, a great aid to navigation. These can sometimes be found in ruins (such as the white ship), but good luck finding those ruins without a GPS.

Useful :

  • A weapon (preferably ranged, ballistic for easy reloads) - basic self defence from carp etc and other hostile critters that may be found while exploring. The most robust space explorers will be able to take on most ruins unarmed. These can sometimes be found in ruins.
  • Meds - even the best space explorers take damage sometimes and it is best to go around at 100% HP when possible. These can sometimes be found in ruins.
  • Food - stock up on some from vendors before heading out, as the movement debuff from hunger applies while spacewalking as well, even though you aren't using your legs, or any part of your body to move.
  • Oxygen/gas canister - to refuel your jetpack. These can sometimes be found in ruins.
  • Power cells or inducer - recharge your hardsuit. These can sometimes be found in ruins.

Easy mode :

  • Hand teleporter with tracking beacons - with this you become the alpha-chad of space exploration, able to hop between the station and your conquests at will. Just wish the HoP gives you teleporter access and that the powergaming captain hasn't secured both within his locker first.
  • Hand drill and jaws of life - advanced tools that make breaking and entering trivial.
  • Advanced hardsuit or jetpack upgrade module - only available with a generous miner friend or the CE. Hard to get but keeps you hands free - inventory managment is key when space exploring.

What's a Z-level?

Z-levels are areas. Every time you leave one you are teleported to another. This z-level teleportation is random each round (like space ruin placement), but consistent within the round - so if you go far enough in one direction you will loop back around to where you started. Centcomm has its own z-level that cannot be accessed through EVAing. Notably, radio messages cannot transmit across z-levels and need a relay to link to the station's telecomms. Testing the radio once you cross into a new z-level (can be checked by looking at the 3rd number of your GPS location) can notify you of a ruin with an active relay in the z-level.

Optimal Strategy

  • Spawn as curator - gives you free hardsuit, carp will not attack you in it and a semi robust knife.
  • Go to the HoPline and get 1. EVA 2. Engineering and preferably 3. Teleporter access
  • Go into EVA and get the toolbelt, load it with tools. Call in your hardsuit (via heroic beacon) and get the AI to open jetpack storage to get a jetpack. Do not take the hardsuit out of the box as you want to get to Engineering ASAP. Stock up on oxygen tanks. Also get the GPS from EVA.
  • Go to engineering and get insuls or an RCD (on some maps an RCD spawns in a crate in EVA). Get the GPS from secure storage.
  • Go to departures or alternatively the teleporter if you got access.
  • If you went to departures, open your GPS interface and immediately go off the station Z-level. Follow all GPS signals you see (Interesting ruins lie at the end of all of them). If you do not see any signals, continue going straight.
  • If you find a ruin, note down the co-ordinates and turn 90 degrees for your next trip. This will prevent you uselessly running back into the station. Rinse and repeat until you find a cool GPS signal and head for that instead.
  • If you find nothing, go perpendicular to your original direction once you return to the station. If you still find nothing, go on a diagonal axis.
  • If you got teleporter access, set the teleporter to the "abandoned teleporter" and fully calibrate it. Gear up for EVA as the area is depressurised. Once you get there, fix up the teleporter and note the co-ordinates or leave another GPS there. This will be your base for exploration, instead of the station.

Tips

  • If anything shoots you, go in the opposite direction.
  • Most critters you find will be hostile.
  • There are very few people in space. Assume hostility of all people that you find, especially if they carry weapons. However, a large amount of "people" in space ruins are actually AI-controlled, so they will attack with no mercy. The few sentient people will probably be so surprised that a station employee is out here that they will forget to attack you, allowing you an opportunity to negotiate and show yourself as non-hostile.
  • Interesting ruins have unique names on the GPS screen. Boring ones are just called "unknown location".
  • Trying to explore space as an important role, such as a security officer or the Captain, will earn you the ire of the crew and a dereliction of duty charge. The curator is ideal for space exploring, nobody will care much if you are gone.