After returning from my last exploration trip to the area around the LBN 623 Nebula, I decided to buy a Lakon Diamondback Explorer. So I stored my Cobra III, Humourist, at the HIP 8859 system (not too far from my home of HR 783) and stripped out the advanced scanner and surface scanner. I then configured the Diamondback for long range exploration – which entailed visiting a number of local systems to get the necessary modules in addition to the scanners which I refitted in the new ship. Once configured the Diamondback has a jump-range of 33Ly’s – 10 more than the Cobra in my chosen configuration. But one thing I will miss about Humourist is her top speed – 435m/s – The Diamondback is 100m/s slower. That’s about the same speed as Humourist in full multirole configuration! All of which means that I will have to be very wary of pirates when I return with my scanned data. Apart from greater range, one of the selling points in favour of the Diamondback is how rugged it is and how cool it runs. It wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve been wafting smoke away in Humourist’s cockpit after scooping a lot of fuel from a star 😦 The other thing I wanted to introduce to my exploring was landing on planets – that’s where the ruggedness comes in. As a ‘retired’ IRL pilot I have a very healthy respect for Cumulograniticus – hills and mountains that you can accidentally fly into – so while other Elite: Horizons players rushed to embrace the new ability to land on floating bits of rock, I’ve been a bit reticent – only landing at a couple of planetary bases. The other thing that Horizons introduced was the Surface Reconnaissance Vehicle (SRV). I wanted to get a feel for the new ship, so I didn’t fit one for this trip but I will for my next outing! A ship should have a name – To me the Diamondback looks a bit like a cubist’s small bird and having painted her in desert sand livery I decided on Rosefinch.

So, I’m out in the black, deep below the Galactic plane again – currently around 1000Ly’s from Earth. It’s a good place to discover new systems that no one else has seen before without travelling very great distances. Here’s a typical large single star system from that region…SWOIWNS HV-D C2 System
You will notice that I have highlighted the 12th planet – a Gas Giant. You may be wondering what it looks like when you’re close to the rings…
Rosefinch at SWOIWNS HV-D C2 12 with the Milky Way
Rosefinch climbing away from the rings of SWOIWNS HV-D C2 12
How about planet landings – well you can’t land on Gas Giants and currently you can’t land on worlds with an atmosphere so the choice is a little limited. Any of the planets with a blue arc in the system map can be visited. Over in another system, SYNUEFAI QE-D B56-0 (apologies for the unimaginative designations but it’s hard to find individual names for 400 billion star systems), I found a rather enticing High Metal Content planet with craters very much like Tyco Brahe on our own moon…Approaching SYNUEFAI QE-D B56-0 A 1
…I tried landing in the smaller of the two but I couldn’t find any suitable ground…Investigating the Crater - SYNUEFAI QE-D B56-0 A 1…Notice how hazy it is down there in the crater and the nasty rocks that could make for a very bad day at the office if you collide with them! I gave up on that one 😦

Then, in the next system – SYNUEFAI PE-D B56-0 – I visited the 3rd planet – another High Metal Content world. This time I was able to land successfully in a medium sized crater…
Approaching crater on SYNUEFAI PE-D B56-0 3
Rosefinch inside the Crater on SYNUEFAI PE-D B56-0 3
Rosefinch departing the Crater on SYNUEFAI PE-D B56-0 3
…That was fun! Note the brown streaks in the rocks – possibly ferrous compounds to be found there?

So now I’m on the long drag back to HR 783 with my data – Not sure how long it will take to get home.

Short finals to land at Aubakirov Orbital. You can see the shadow of my ship on the station. God… It’s almost like flying a Cherokee! πŸ™‚
Final approach to Aubakirov Orbital, Frigaha System

Travelling between systems – the speedo say’s we’re doing nearly 6000 times the speed of light!
Travelling through the Void

Ackerman Market complete with habitation ring – ideal station to buy your fruit and veg. There’s probably a few descendents of London barrerboy’s living here and I bet the local pub is named ‘The Market Porter’ too.
Ackerman Market, Erevate System

A rather nice view of Fullerton Horizons orbiting a planet in the Mbukuravi system – the place where I realised that my ‘horizons’ were broadening as I contemplated where to next…
Fullerton Horizons, Mbukuravi System