There are multiple ships in the verse, that are defined as exploration ships. But it’s not really defined, how exploration works. There are multiple ideas out there but I wanted to present my own:
CIG already told, that they want to expand the game all the time. Every three months to be precise. And these updates will have new items, ships, missions and star systems. For sure you can find the new jump points if they appear or scan for new promising mining areas. But that’s exploration. Not research.
But my idea for research would be resolving about the same topic. I guess the developer know which features they want to bring with the next update. So they could just make it possible to research for the needed technology to create the items that come with the next patch and sell them to the official cooperations.
Maybe you could as well left your Endeavor in space and attach a research module with paid NPC’s to do the boring research work. The advantage would be that your ship would be generating UEC for you. But on the downside: Your ship would float in space, eventually without a player that protect it from hostile ones and so you can lose your expensive science vessel to a player that want to steal it or a pirate that just likes to blow it up.
Maybe the ship would be more secure in the UEE space. There are police forces that would defend the ship. but there are also more players that will try to use the data flowing in space to get some great intel in how the world works and how to use it in technology. Also, most of the things studied there are already gone through research in the past. But in new planets or in the deep space of alien races could be the solution for the sandwich problem (Okay that’s a theoretical and not a technical problem, and as far as I know it’s solved).
We could scan the Vaduul to get information about their tech and use it to create our own. I think this would be easy to
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See you in the verse