Elite Dangerous – Basic Exobiology Guide (Odyssey Expansion)

Not sure how to harvest plants? Can’t figure out why you can’t get a second sample? This short walkthrough will help you understand the science of exobiology.

Guide to Exobiology Basics

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How to Harvest

Exobiology is one of the new activities added by the Odyssey expansion. The introduction of worlds with atmosphere adds opportunities to seek out new life forms in order to further humanity’s knowledge and make a few easy credits doing it.

Before you can start taking samples, you’ll need the tools to do it. Check outfitters at space stations and ports until you find one with an Artemis suit in stock. Once you have one, open up the loadout menu and equip it to a new loadout. The loadout menu can be accessed from the ship’s Role Panel (3 is the default key if you’re using a keyboard) or from terminals while walking around on the station. Suit grade doesn’t really matter for scanning, you shouldn’t be seeing combat while wearing it and suit augments don’t really add much to the basic function.

The first thing to do after getting a suit is to locate a planet with life to sample. Open up the system map and check the details of every landable planet with an atmosphere for biological signals (the older plants on airless worlds added in Horizons can also be sampled but unless you’re heading out into the black you probably won’t see very many). Once you arrive at a suitable planet, launch surface probes to get a complete scan of it. While not strictly necessary, this will overlay the planet with a heat map showing which areas life can be found. You can also narrow down the heat map to a single type of organism in the surface probe interface. Fly into a highlighted area.

Once you’ve landed on an area with plant life and have the Artemis suit on, get out of your ship and pull out your genetic sampler (default key 5). Go up to the nearest plant and extract a sample from it (hold left click on the mouse). The sample you extracted was just a partial sample, you’ll need to extract two more from the same type of plant to gain a complete sample. Now, try activating the detection pulse on your tool to scan the area for biological organisms.

Organisms too genetically similar to the one you extracted will now be highlighted blue.

Organisms of the same species with enough genetic diversity to take another sample from will be highlighted green.

Organisms of different species will be highlighted purple.

Note that taking samples of a different type of organism will reset progress on a partially complete sample.

Open up your codex and check the entry for the organism you’re sampling. Below the description for the organism there should be a line listing the clonal colony range.

This tells you how far you can expect to travel before finding organisms with sufficient genetic diversity to provide another sample. Some plants like tussocks and shrubs have short colony ranges, while things like bacterial colonies have much larger clonal ranges. Whenever you take a sample its location will be marked and you can check how far you’ve gone from it on the compass at the top of your HUD.

It is possible to find a group of organisms right on the edge of your previous sample, leading to abrupt changes between clonal and non-clonal samples.

After collecting complete samples, head over to a nearby surface port or space station and drop them off at the Vista Genomics office for a small payout, somewhere between fifty thousand and a million per sample, depending on the rarity. Being the first person to submit samples from a planet doubles the reward.

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13931 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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