Last Tour of the WanderBus- An Elite: Dangerous Exploration AAR

I’ve been playing a lot of Elite: Dangerous the last few months, and the game’s sandbox nature has been perfect for my ADD. I’ve spent time hunting bounties, fighting in war zones between factions, trading across several systems, mining in asteroid belts and planetary rings, and most of all, exploring. Something about running out into the big black void that is interstellar space, seeing things (even simulated) that very likely nobody else has seen before, and getting pictures of it to tell the tale, is strangely appealing.

Also, jumping from planetary body to body leaves a lot of free time to catch up on Netflix/ Hulu/ Amazon between scans and jumps. Three cheers for multitasking!

For this trip, I decided to take my trusty Lakon Type 6, affectionately named the Wanderbus, out for one last exploration trip towards Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. It’s become a bit of a rite of passage for any traveler in game to make their pilgrimage there, and I guess it’s my turn.

I’d been doing a bit of mining in the T6, so the first order of business would be to turn her back into a viable exploration ship. Out come the heavy (and heavier duty) shields, and power distributor, switching everything possible over to “D” class modules, as they have the smallest mass (since less mass = greater jump range). Largest fuel scoop I can find/ afford within reason is installed in place of one of the cargo racks, and both the advanced and detailed surface scanners are installed. I’m keeping the refinery in place, since I may decide to sample some distant rocks out in the void if I get bored, and it’s not adding anything to the mass of the ship.

As an added note, one thing I added in, but forgot to get a screenshot of before I departed, is the best Auto Field-Maintenance Unit. While the danger from pirates, trolls, and other hostile player essentially drops to zero about 600 light years from the boundary of occupied space, there are plenty of other hazards out there- black holes, asteroid fields, ringed planets that are next to impossible to see, and if cryptic hints about future updates are any clue, stranger, more dangerous things will soon make their presence known as well.

Ship outfitted and ready to go, it’s time to plot a course. First thing is to get clear of occupied space as quickly as possible, so I plot a series of fast jumps out to the vicinity of the Pipe Stem Nebula (pay no attention the anime Princess- I swear, that’s how the galactic map looked when I pulled it up):

Oh, and before we leave, a note about mods. I’m using the Screen Shot Changer mod to change the pics from the standard bitmap format to a much easier to use png format. Very easy to get up and running, and so far it’s worked flawlessly. To keep track of where I’ve been and anything interesting I find in any systems I visit, I’m using Captain’s Log, a nice little logging tool that includes an overlay option, to be able to add and edit system details while you have the system map pulled open.

Finally, it’s time to bid farewell to the relative safety of occupied space (I’m hesitant to call it civilized, if the forums and Reddit are any indication of the residents):

Last view of a Coriolis for who knows how long. Let’s get this adventure started!

1 Like

Ah - thank you, I’ve been looking for something like that rather than bmp files.

Looking forward to Wanderbus adventures Mr Nuke!

I love elite. Just dont have the time to sit down and enjoy it.

I don’t play enough either although seeing these pics makes me want to start it up again. I never really got into Powerplay and didn’t feel I had enough depth in it to review properly (which was my intention for Mudspike). We should try to wing up some time, as I know @BeachAV8R has a unused copy too (if we can get him off of flying/flying X-plane :wink:) .

I think the secret like @Navynuke99 alluded to, was to use youtube/music etc while cruising around and make it more of a ‘chill out’ type of space trucking thing. I imagine it’s pretty relaxing too.

1 Like

I haven’t even played powerplay yet. As for the music I think there is a Internet radio station devoted to elite. I think it’s called sidewinder radio or something. I use to listen while flying. Was pretty cool

I never bothered with Powerplay- never saw any point in it with my playstyle, honestly. As for music to fly by, I’ve listened to Radio SIdewinder here and there a little bit, but the frequency of the ads gets old for me very, very fast.

Once upon a time, there was a radio show in San Diego called Big Sonic Chill that played Sunday- Thursday from about 9pm- 3am. Trip hop, house, trance, downtempo. Bands like Zero Seven, Frou Frou, Massive Attack, Portishead, Catpower, and Air. Music that’s good for two things, really: studying calc and physics, and practicing making babies. Well, with the advent of Elite Dangerous, I’ve found a third thing it’s really good for. FM94/9 killed the radio show a few years ago (to massive outcry across San Diego County), but the playlists live on via Youtube.

My college’s radio station does a pretty good EDM program on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and if I’m flying on those nights, I’m streaming WKNC in my Winamp ogg player. Most other nights, I’ve got videos streaming- I’m currently in Season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer/ Season 2 of Angel (yes, I’m a child of the 90’s), but I’ll also see whatever else catches my fancy from time to time. Last night was the Wing Commander movie, for example.


…but…but…those Alaska orphans need me (said Michael Jackson to the lawyers)…

@Navynuke99 - Cool report. Yeah…go where that princess is. Find a deep, dark corner of space…and pull out your…


If you run into any Redditors out there…they will either show you a picture of their puppy, or blast you in the face. No middle ground there…LOL…

Looking forward to reading more! (As I drink my coffee…ahhh…just the way we envisioned this site when we started it…nice!!)


I think half the folks playing in Powerplay right now are doing so solely in the hopes of doing that with her . All the more reason for me to avoid it.

More coming tonight, now that I’m safely outside of the bubble!

Continuing on with our journey, now that we’re clear of the bubble. Next leg of the journey has been plotted, as close to the 1000 light year limit as possible:

While I’m not in any particular hurry to reach Sag A*, or attempt a record breaking Buckeyball Run, I want to get a little bit further away from occupied space before I switch the navigation from fast back to economical. Shorter jumps mean much, much less fuel used each jump, but much more time time required to cover long distances. After I reach my next waypoint, I’ll shift to economical navigation, as the further afield from “the bubble,” the greater the possibility of encountering undiscovered systems and being able to claim them for a healthy exploration bonus.

Economical Navigation

Fast Navigation

Part of the fun of exploring is seeing who else has discovered systems before you. As this one goes to show. Luckily, no weeping angels, Daleks, Cybermen, Plastics, or Silence was encountered. At least, not that I remember…

Another very unusual system I came across not long after. Yes, that’s seven stars all in the same system, in fairly close proximity:

I definitely had to stop and take a closer look:

And a bit more about the techniques usually associated with how to explore. There are many great guides on how to get started, but the best by far is found here. The most generally agree upon approach to first surveying a system is:

  1. Throttle to zero after starting the hyperspace jump.

  2. Immediately upon exiting the jump, activate (or honk) the Discovery Scanner to gather the initial picture on the system:

  3. If the star is scoopable, either scoop and scan, or scan and scoop before moving on to any planets of interest:

  4. Determine any other bodies in the system that might be interesting, target them, and move into scanning range (this varies from body to body, based on the size, and whether or not you’ve also brought along a Detailed Surface Scanner.

For those with the inclination and a good ear, there’s a wonderful guide that can be found here about how to get a fairly good guess at each planet type from listening to it in the system map.

One last tip: if you’ve outfitted your ship with shields and/ or weapons, once clear of inhabited space, it’s usually a good idea to deactivate those modules from the systems panel. It’ll let you run a little bit cooler, which can make a huge difference if you find yourself jumping into a binary star system, or lose focus and get too close to a star while refueling.

Anyway, that’s it for now. I’ve got some humping to do!


The journey continues onward! I’ve been continuing on at a rather leisurely pace, scanning almost every planet, star, and moon in the systems I’ve passed through. After leaving the bubble, I angled my course north of the ecliptic plane, hoping to increase my chances, successfully, of finding mostly undiscovered systems.

My current progress:

And some of the sights I’ve seen along the way:

My first Earth-like planet! Unfortunately, I won’t get the discoverer’s tag on it, but still cool to see.

A very hot and fiery looking metal rich planet. Since it has no atmosphere, I’m hoping I’ll be able to land on a planet like this when Horizons comes out.

A terraformable water world with carbon-based life (insert Kevin Costner jokes):

So many pretty gas giants. I don’t think I’ve seen all the models yet.

And an ammonia world with life. Probably not too different from where Thargoid life originated from.

That’s it for now! The journey onward continues slowly and methodically. I’m coming across mostly unexplored systems, which will provide a nice bonus when I get back to the bubble. Fly safe, Commanders!