Best of 2015: The Dangerous Diaries Part 1: Space Trek

First Published: Jan 30, 2014
Voted For By: Ste
Reason(s) For Vote:
“I chose this article for two reasons; first reading it is more effective than a sledgehammer to the head when trying to get to sleep, and secondly it reminds me just how stunning gaming has the potential to be.” – Ste

Space, in a game made by Frontier: these are the voyages of Commander Spad. His continuing mission: To visit strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilisations, to sell them tea then shoot them and steal the tea back, to boldly go where people may or may not have been before; it’s honestly pretty unclear.

Stardate: 3300.01.11.1405. The HIP11459 System.

Hevelius’ Claim, a small outpost on the very edge of inhabited space, is where my journey starts. I’ve decided to make the trip out to Rigel, a short 705-light-year jaunt from my current location and about 850 light-years from Sol. I’ve stocked up on fuel and ammo, made sure my Fuel Scoop is in good condition, and started planning out my route. Along the way I’m aiming to visit any interesting systems I spot and to scan everything so I can sell the cartographic data when I return.

I’ve been travelling quickly from system to system, pausing only to scan for any objects of interest and, if I find any mineral-rich planets or potential terraforming targets going in for a detailed scan. Complete scans of planets with liquid water or earth-like conditions can be worth more than 50,000 credits each and so they’re well worth investigating.

My first sightseeing detour takes me to the HIP14970 system, a mere 120 light-years out, which is dominated by a large Type-K Orange Giant star. At 8.5 solar radii it’s considerably larger than our Sun and yet only slightly more massive. I spend a while in its orbit, scooping solar matter to refill my fuel tank before moving on.

The 69 Lambda Eridani System is much further out, 650 light-years in fact, but is well worth the visit. Its Type-B blue-white star weighs in at 15 solar masses, but the real draw is the large number of T-Tauri stars that orbit it resulting in a system made up almost entirely of solar bodies.

The Rigel System is my ultimate destination and it contains a vast Type-A blue-white star, Rigel A, which is 120,000 times brighter than our sun. The star’s luminosity and colour give everything else in the system an eerie green glow and at nearly eighty times the radius of the sun I don’t want to risk getting within 100 light-seconds of it. The rest of Rigel is relatively uninteresting and after hanging around for a little while, soaking up the ambience, it’s time to start my journey home.

480 light-years from home and I pass through the initially unremarkable Synuefe CF-I C12-0. This ternary star system left me with one of the most memorable images of my voyage; two main sequence stars in extremely close proximity, which I decided to name The Eyes of The Universe – I’d like to think it’s clear why.

350 light-years to go and I find myself in HR 1578 where I came across a ringed gas giant that looked like it had been painted onto the sky. What could otherwise have simply been one of a hundred boring, brown spheres I’d seen on my trip was raised to the level of artwork by a simple quirk of its creation.

Civilisation at last! While I’m still a hundred light-years or so from the core of inhabited space, I can at least finally rest and refuel. It’s taken me 144 hyperspace jumps and I’ve travelled over 1,500 light-years as the crow flies (though I can’t imagine it’d last long in a vacuum); I’ve seen wondrous things and an awful lot of lifeless, rocky planets and now all that remains is to see how much cash I can get for all the cartographic data I recorded.

It takes a while to negotiate the sale of data for nearly 150 systems, but by the end of it I’d earned just over a million credits, which isn’t at all bad for a sightseeing tour of Rigel. Next up on my To-Do list is Maia, a system in the Pleiades which is reported to contain a Black Hole and is a scant 350 light-years away, a trip down the space shops in comparison to the journey I’ve just completed.

Adam has been playing Elite Dangerous, probably entirely too much Elite Dangerous. Seriously, he just bought a £100 flight stick for it. If you’d like to play Elite Dangerous too (flight stick optional) then you can get it right now from

For anyone interested in Adam’s complete route, it turns out it’s way too long to include here without enraging the formatting gods. Sorry about that.

Last five articles by Adam B


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