Help: Spectroscopy, Analysis, and Surveying
This help file describes various scientific tasks you can perform on points of interest you find in deep space. Points of interest can be nearly anything -- asteroid clusters, nebulas, star systems, and more! You will find these objects at intervals when exploring in deep space, and your first step is to simply approach them and have your ship arrive within the area of interest. After that, there are several things you can do, depending on your ship's equipment, to study the object. The data you bring back home is likely to be very valuable!
IMAGING, SPECTROSCOPY, AND ANALYZING
Space imaging is described in detail in the Space Imaging help file.
Once your starship has space imaging equipment, it can be augmented with a series of spectroscopes and scanners sold by Central Stellar Cartography at the main location on The Torus. The command to begin using this equipment is SPECTROSCOPE. Once started, the computer will iterate through all of the analysis equipment it has available. If you wish, the scan can be aborted by repeating the command. The data gathered will be stored in the ship's surveying databanks -- more on this below!
Certain points of interests will be planetary systems! Exoplanets are of particular interest to scientists back home and are always an exciting find.
The first step, if your ship has the necessary planetary surveyor, is to use the SURVEY command. This will begin a series of scans that will eventually locate and plot the orbits of all planets in the system.
Once the planets are found, you can use the JUMP command to have your ship perform a field triangulation and travel via wormhole to your newly discovered planets! However, this is where your advancement of scientific understanding ends... unless, of course, you also have probes aboard, as detailed in the next section!
PROBES AND LANDERS
If you have enough points, you may purchase a probe launcher from Central Stellar Cartography. It can then be loaded with probes at any CSC branch using the usual MENU and BUY commands. If you find you have too many of a particular type of probe, you can unload them for some of your money back using the SELL command.
Probes are used to study points of interest as well as individual planets. Each probe can be deployed using one of three programs: close approach, extended observation, or lander. A close approach probe is simply fired directly at an object and transmits telemetry for as long as it can, often right up until it impacts. An extended observation probe orbits or holds station near an object for at least several hours, gathering much more information. And a lander will gather information about the surface of a planet.
You do not need to stay and wait for a probe to complete a lengthy observation. If you return to the site at any time after a probe has completed its program, it will transmit the data to your ship within a minute or so. Since both probes and time are limited, it is a good idea to save them for particularly worthy targets, like green planets or exotic objects.
Discoverers are the first people to image, survey, scan, or probe a new point of interest and will be accorded a certain special status forever. If you cannot complete all possible tasks at a point of interest, then any future followup work will still be credited to any qualifying discoverers, even if they are not on the new crew.
Uncertain if you're the first one to visit an area, or which studies have already been performed? Be sure to get the CSC's onboard library upgrade and use the LIBRARY command!
Images are physical hardcopies and planetary surveys are stored in the ship's main databanks, but all other data is stored on special surveying databanks. These databanks have a limited capacity depending on the type of ship, which can be viewed with the DATABANKS command. This capacity can be extended with upgrades.
CREDITS FOR DATA
Surveying data can be transferred to any Central Stellar Cartography branch using the SUBMIT command. Crew members must individually submit their planets, but only the ship's owner can submit the contents of its databanks. Once the data is processed, each member will be mailed their reward and given the appropriate points.
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