Discovering Surfaces (Zones)

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The Space Exploration map is randomly generated with each game. This includes a small cluster of Stars, each with its own Planets and Moons, known as the Interstellar Map. The number of available locations is finite, about 600 surfaces.

Starting a new game will automatically discover the starting planet Nauvis and its star, Calidus. Space Exploration has many surfaces outside of Nauvis. In order to discover, view, and reach them the player must first build a satellite rocket silo and launch a navigation satellite in order to discover more locations within the Calidus System. Further research technologies can be unlocked to discover more location types.

Discovering a new planet, moon or star will also automatically discover its orbit. Likewise, arrival upon the orbits of a moon or planet will discover its ground counterpart. Asteroid belts and asteroid fields do not have orbits to discover. The process of discovery is random, but in order to discover moons, the parent planet of those moons must be discovered first (except for space capsule navigation). Likewise, in order to discover planets, the parent star must be discovered first.

All discovered locations are available in the Universe Explorer. They can be viewed after launching the first navigation satellite.

Navigation Satellite[edit]

Navigation satellites can be launched from satellite rocket silos like in vanilla Factorio, or from a space probe rocket silo (with a Space Probe Rocket), to discover surfaces. Navigation satellites can only discover surfaces within the star system they were launched from. The very first navigation satellite launched will not discover a new surface, but will unlock the navigation satellite uplink as well as a weapons cache. Upon discovering all surfaces within a star system, additional navigation satellite launches will discover new stars. Once all stars are discovered, you will receive a message: The Navigation Satellite did not find anything new.

This does not mean there aren't anymore celestial bodies to discover. In order to discover more places via navigation satellite, the satellites must be launched from within a different star system. It is recommended that the player use the cheaper space probe rocket in a space probe rocket silo.

Zone Discovery (research)[edit]

This technological research yields random discovery of a planet, moon, star or asteroid belt anywhere on the Interstellar Map. Locations can only be discovered after their parent body is discovered. The cost increases by one Astronomic Science Pack 1 per research level.

Targeted Zone Discovery (research)[edit]

This technological research yields specific discovery of a planet, moon or asteroid belt anywhere on the Interstellar Map if a specific preference was selected in the Zone Discovery tab of the Informatron. Without a specified preference, the result will be random, similar to Zone Discovery (research). The cost will increase by one Astronomic Science Pack 1 and one Astronomic Science Pack 2 per research level.

Deep Space Zone Discovery (research)[edit]

This technological research yields random discovery of a surface in deep space. This includes asteroid fields; this research is the only way to discover them. The cost will increase by 10 Astronomic Science Pack 1, 10 Astronomic Science Pack 2 and 10 Astronomic Science Pack 3 per research level.

Other methods[edit]

The space capsule can move the player from a surface to a neighboring surface, by using the Space Capsule Navigation mechanics (in Destination select: "Undiscovered Location"). This allows the player to land on surfaces that have not been discovered. Successful arrival will result in automatic discovery of these locations. Additionally, using space capsule navigation can result in a Navigation Error. This can strand the player on a random ground surfaces of a star system, or if traveling interstellar using emergency burn between star systems, can result in being stranded on a random ground surface of a completely different star system.