Last voyage of the Betsy.

Meet Betsy, here on the way to the Cave Nebula. She is going on a final journey before I retire or upgrade her to another exploration vessel. I have explored in a number of different ships through the years, but the Asp E, and the Betsy in particular, has always been my favourite.


Heading to the Cave Nebula means seeing NGC7822 a lot. So I headed there next. Partly for nostalgic reasons; my second ever exploration trip was to there (first one was to the Coalsack). Maybe I would see some of my old tags there? Of course that was when Falconfly tagged all the low-hanging fruit in the region. Still a good source of O-class weirdness and neutron stars.


And xenobiology, which was not part of the game last time I was around these haunts.


Black holes are now easy to miss with the FSS, if you want to visit them and play with the light distortion. But going to the System Map after a scan is not that hard.


Another cluster of O, A and B class star drew my attention as I meandered towards the Heart and Soul nebula:


Part of the reason I am out and about this time, besides wanderlust, is to look for new stuff to find with the FSS and updated DSS. That means scanning a lot of landables and taking photo opportunities when these arise. Because sightseeing is an important part of any journey! Collecting vent, fumarole and geyser types is just the pokemonesque part of the journey, but one also need a selection of different planets and stars as backdrops.



After a few weeks of meandering about I finally pulled up at Base Camp. Nice to have populated systems this far out, although I really didn't need my rear sniffed by a Vulture when I first arrived in the system...


Landing at Base Camp concluded the first part of this journey. Not sure where this will go. Maybe I will swing over towards Colonia, which just got that name when I was there last. Maybe I will swing in towards the galactic centre again? Either way, it will be a follow-the-nose sort of trip, playing with the new exploration toys. Which I enjoy a lot. Yes, it's a bit sad to lose the instant system map from the old ADS, but that was too simplistic anyway. I actually enjoy having to factor in the risk of missing something on the way if all I want to do is cover ground. Ask me again in a few weeks, though.

:D S
 
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Great pics - don't retire her! You will always come back to the AspX. I have every ship worth owning but come back to my good old Hermes every once in a while.
 
I switched from AspX to iClipper. The only thing I really miss is the cockpit view.

I definitely do not miss the farts. You'd think the Asp ran on beans! And let's face it, Asp isn't very pretty. Even a Sidey is more photogenic. And the Clipper's agility in supercruise is pretty close to the AspX in most respects, and better in yaw axis. I'm lazy and often use yaw so that's a plus for me. ;)
 
First Milestone: Exploring the Soul Nebula

After landing at Base Camp, selling data and getting a few repairs and replenishments done (this place really needs outfitting, and a pub!), it was time to head out again. The plan was simple: run a few transects through the nebula and scan and map everything remotely interesting with the new tools. The priorities were: Landables (for biology/geology Codex updates); terraformables, ammonia worlds, water worlds, earthlikes (for the sweet credits); gas giants and rings; search for Notable Stellar Phenomena.

Procedure is: Jump > Honk > Check FSS for cool stuff > Scan to exhaustion > Visit interesting systems for follow-up DSS scan.

Getting the system map populated with most data is a lot faster now, and encourages you (well, at least me) to fly around the systems and have a closer look at things more than the old system did. Of course, it eventually became a rinse-and-repeat drag. But that's all part of exploration.

Rainbows end:


Sum might be beige:


Now we see a lot of geothermal vents in lot of different locations. Cool stuff, especially when their presence can be combined with some of the spectacular settings Stellar Forge seems made to generate for us. Here is a sun and moon rise:


While dark is now properly dark (and thanks for the night vision, FD!), lighting can be a bit weird when only the main star in a multi-star system have any influence. The change in light source when approaching a secondary star can also be quite jarring. That doesn't stop the game from generating some atmospheric nightscapes though:


Campfire:


After scouring through the well-explored Soul Nebula, all I saw was geothermal vents and bark mounds. This may be partly due to me not checking more than one Biology site per body. I have found other types outside the nebula, though, while still in the Elysium Shores sector.

Bark mounds:


A lovely feature of the Asp Explorer is its small footprint. You can park medium-size ships pretty much anywhere, although is it safe always?


Time to leave the Soul Nebula and head over to the Heart Nebula for a bit. May take my sweet time and keep looking for stuff outside the nebulae. The reasons we find stuff there mostly may simply be that that's where we look the most... Still haven't seen a single NSP, but they are after all supposed to be rare.

Onwards, ever onwards!

:D S
 
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The Heart Nebula overall wasn't too different from the Soul Nebula, so I headed back out in the black pretty quickly. Up to the Neutron Highway and off towards the edge of the galaxy.

The Heart and Soul Nebulae are pretty at a distance though:


Circumnavigate this:

:D S
 
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A note on the Neutron Highway: It functions quite well heading towards the galactic centre, as being 1000 light years above or below the galactic plane is still well within the famously mile wide and inch deep Milky Way. However, heading the other way can quickly cause issues. I merrily neutron hopped "south" towards the far border of Elysium Shore, when I suddenly ran out of neutron stars. Well, out of any stars really. Luckily I had been stockpiling materials for jump boosting, and it only took a few 100 ly jumps to get back into "populated" space. There are a few targets out there on the fringe I want to visit, but I may need to actually plan the route in advance and stockpile the needed materials. And stay away from neutron stars getting there...

It's empty out here:


:D S
 
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Nice pics.
I thought I would never go out with anything other than the Asp.
Then FD unlocked the restricted slots in the Orca.
I really like it for exploration.
 
Nice pics.
I thought I would never go out with anything other than the Asp.
Then FD unlocked the restricted slots in the Orca.
I really like it for exploration.
The orca was my favourite passenger runner for a long time, and I used it a bit for mission running as well. I got tired of the large pad requirement, though. Might be fun for some exploration in style, it sounds like!

:D S
 
Leaving the Elysian Shore

And so the Betsy is heading into the Formidine Rift. Should I be paralysed with fear?

Meanwhile, here is a collage of terraformable planets met along the way from the Heart Nebula to the border:


:D S
 
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Speaking of empty, the Formidine Rift is a great place for a bit of solitude it seems. I know there is Zurara to visit, and there are the possible Guardian sites in the EAFOTS sector. Anything else? Oh yes, of course, trying to go as far south as possible. I did have another attempt at getting as far over the galactic plane as possible, which at least was a way to burn off some rare mats. And to feel really lonely when stars are few and far between.


:D S
 
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The journey through the Formidine Rift continues, although now with a bit of a twist. Although maybe not with a twist: The yaw on my X-56 stick broke. Is that an issue? Not really, yaw is a bad habit without pedals. I contacted Logitech to see if I can get just the joystick head replaced, as the rest of the HOTAS has worked marvellously for the last 2+ years.

For now I have turned yaw off and am continuing into the deep black. I guess Betsy really is getting a bit on...

:D S
 
Yaw issue fixed with yaw-into-low-roll on and sensitivity set near the minimum. Almost bought a set of pedals instead, so glad to have this patched for now and money thereby saved.

Meanwhile, my birthday present to myself arrived: Oculus Rift Touch. The game has certainly opened up now; it is absolutely stunning in VR, even at lower resolution. Granted, the Formidine Rift itself doesn't look much more exciting: The stars are still a bit sparse and the galaxy somewhat far away. But flying near planets and driving across terrain are awesome pass-times! I even took old Betsy canyon racing.

Onwards, ever onwards.

:D S
 
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The Betsy is making her way through the Formidine Rift. It's been a long time since I have last seen a "Discovered By" tag anywhere. The stars are thinning out and the Milky Way looks far, far away. And Betsy is looking a bit worse for wear...

Found an odd-looking system with four stars and a bunch of terraformables around the A star, as well as single one orbiting the B-C-D trio. However, close up it looked like the lone far away terraformable was orbiting just two stars:


Looking closer at the star found two of them in a fairly tight orbit:


Of course there is just one thing to do, although I had to mosey out a bit or the old girl would have been cooked:


This kind of fly-by looks absolutely awesome in VR!

:D S
 
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The journey continues. Betsy is now in the middle, or rather at the edge, of nowhere:


The plan is to head towards the edge in 80 more jumps or so, but in the above view it looks like I'm already there.

The journey is as much a search for new things to discover, first for me and perhaps within the community as well. It has been a bit sparse, although the search is not without pretty sights. Here is a ringed water world, for example. Not terraformable, and nothing interesting in the ring except the view:


Finally I found life, though, or Shards at least. Not new to the Formidine Rift, but new to me. They thrive in the cold far away from stars, but seems associated with vents and fumaroles:



Onwards, ever onwards!

:D S
 
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