Searching for the Unknown Artefact
Unknown artefacts have been popping all over the bubble for a while now. They are very rare, of unknown / alien origin, and commanders still struggle to find out what exactly is their purpose...
I always found space fascinating (hence this website), and recently I even bought and fitted an Imperial Clipper for some prolonged space exploration and alien hunting. As we all know - space is big. Actually that's an understatement... So finding unknown artefacts or probes is more or less like searching for a needle in a haystack... where the needle is the same shape and color as the hay itself.
By chance, I stumbled across a post by Cmdr Falcon Darkstar who said there were unknown artefacts around the Aries dark region. Specifically these few systems:
- ARIES DARK REGION GW-W D1-52
- ARIES DARK REGION OJ-P B6-3
- ARIES DARK REGION XK-N B7-2
- COL 285 SECTOR FB-X D1-46
- HIP 14479
Since I was really close by, I just had to jump there and check for it myself. I never encountered any of the alien artefacts until now so it was a perfect opportunity to take some footage of the discovery.
If you want to check them out for your self - I highly recommend flying around the mentioned systems or any neighbouring ones. Just make sure to fly approximately 100-200 lightseconds around the star and keep your eye on USS marked as "Anomaly detected".
What do we know so far?
The Unknown Artefacts (UAs), sometimes known as Anomalous Extraterrestrial Objects (AEOs) have been reported to look like a form of sentient life, far beyond what we humans are capable of creating. It is still unknown what the UA is meant for, some people are speculating that this is the work of Thargoids, and there have been lots of other theories.
To date, none of these theories have been proven, it is 'exceedingly rare' and only a few pilots have been able to see one themselves, making it extremely challenging to carry out tests and theories. However, the rate at which the UAs are appearing have been rapidly increasing lately as of October 3301. In some systems, several UAs have been found within minutes of eachother.
As far as current tests and analysis show, it appears that the UA does a sonar scan of the closest celestial object or station and then sends out (chittering) sounds which are a highly distorted Morse code which represents that body.
The unknown artefact will scan all ships within 1 kilometer and is confirmed to point and align itself to Merope, a star system in the Pleiades Nebula that has been linked with Thargoid activity in Elite lore. Recordings and decoding of the UA also show that it produces a basic line drawing of the ship it scans, much like how the ships are displayed in the original Elite.
Unknown artefact features
It seems probable that the UA is non-human in origin, and was first discovered some 720 years ago, although at the start of the Elite Dangerous game (3300) its origins are still unknown. However, the following aspects have been tested and are known:
- In terms of size, it is roughly the same size as a human, and not much bigger.
- From a distance away it makes a loud whale like sound with some muttering and can be spotted by some sparkling and some purple/green gas-like colours.
- It seems to be made of three parts, the head (it looks like a giant egg with an place at the top where it seems like it can open up but some parts glow when the whale noise happens), the stalk or spine (it seems to have four parts to it and lights up too to the whale noise), the pods or capsules (there are twelve of these).
- When close to it you can clearly see it giving off a distortion field of some kind which has sparks appearing and disappearing in it with a gas in the entire area, either green or purple. However in the debug camera you can get close enough to the point where the field isn't in the way and you can get a clear view of the UA.
- You can hear the sounds it gives off best when closest. You can hear a whale noise (honk/wail), followed by chittering and purring.
- While inside your ship's cargo hold the UA acts like Toxic Waste by doing corrosion damage to ALL your ship modules once every so often at random. This has caused Commanders to lose their UAs while in supercruise, as their cargo hatch decayed enough to open. In the upcoming Engineers update, (Horizons only), one engineer has been confirmed to produce Corrosion Resistant cargo racks for transport of the UAs.
- They are illegal salvage, so if you have it in your ship and a NPC System Authority scans you, you get a fine of 55,000cr. If stolen, your fine jumps to at least 161,000cr.
- They can be sold for up to 361,221 cr, according to EDDB.io, though 180-220k cr is an average figure. The best place to sell them is Brendan Gateway in Quivira, however, it would probably fetch a few million to sell it to one of the Player Groups focused on science, especially Canonn.
- The UA 'Spores' or 'glitter' don't appear to do any damage.
- Occasionally they 'explode' sending a cloud of particulates out around them. Extremely slowed down video reveals a strange graphical glitch when this happens (or a tear in the space time continuum, similar to that seen when in frame shift jumping)
- Having a refinery fitted with a UA in the hold does nothing.
- No new missions or contacts appear with one in the hold.
- They are quite delicate and behave similarly to normal canisters in some ways.
- They degrade over time in space (while ejected) and have a life of about 5 minutes max outside the ship, but reset to 100% health when back inside the cargo hold.
Source: Elite: Dangerous Wiki