A guide to mining space junk using the NOVA craft.
Orbital Mining with the NOVA Spacecraft
So you've got a claim and you want to start making workstations like the electronics workbench and the advanced assembly bench, but you need copper? Well buck up, buckaroo, because there's an answer for that.
1. Acquire a NOVA
Behold the humble NOVA. This capsule will be your trusty steed on your journey to coppery, quartzy, platinum-y riches. To claim the vessel you simply need to approach it and hit 'F' with 3 power cells in your inventory. Once you've claimed it, hit 'F' again to board.
2. To Space!
Hit 'H' to sit down in the pilot's seat, then hold 'G' to free the mouse so you can power up and start the ignition sequence. Once that's done, the W key will accelerate you toward space. While in flight you can control the pitch of the NOVA with mouse up/down, the yaw (side to side) with the Q and E keys, and roll with A and D.
The NOVA is a bit difficult to control as you can't look straight ahead, so you'll find it helpful to hit T for a third-person view, then hold down ALT and pan around with the mouse.
3. Find some junk!
Once you're in space (you'll see the throttle setting change to 4. Space), continue climbing until you can see asteroids beneath you. This is important because space junk is dark in color and will be tough to spot against the black starfield. It looks like this.
4. It's mine, all mine!
Approach the space junk so that you can see it out the pilot's window. The NOVA is equipped with a mining laser that is activated by holding down the left mouse button. If you're close enough to the space junk, the end of the beam will turn a different color and you'll start seeing copper, platinum, and quartz being added to your inventory.
Each piece of space junk will yield about ten items, then will be depleted just like terrestrial ore nodes.
Once you get good at controlling the NOVA you'll be able to gather dozens of copper per trip as well as a good quantity of quartz and platinum. Don't spend it all in one place!