Unknown Probes are one of the three items required for activating the device within the Unknown Structure sites, and by far the rarest of the three. Locating one will require a degree of patience and tenacity on behalf of the commander. This guide should work, but the page on Thargoid Probes has alternative options for finding them that were introduced more recently.
They may be found in orbit of Ammonia Worlds within the Pleiades region, the specific list of systems and bodies is as follows:
|Pleiades sector RO-Q B5-0||7||18.98|
|Pleiades Sector IR-W D1-55||6||26.26|
|Pleiades Sector KC-U B3-1||8||30.83|
|Pleiades Sector LC-U B3-2||B 2||43.91|
|Pleaides Sector DL-Y D54||3||67.1|
|Pleiades Sector QD-T c3-9||1||77.08|
|Pleiades Sector KM-W D1-40||B11||78.26|
|Pleiades Sector ZE-Z B0||4||82.91|
|Pleiades sector ON-T C3-12||2||85.73|
|Pleaides Sector DQ-Y CO||A 5||87.85|
|Pleiades Sector GG-Y C4||C2||96.82|
The recommended location you search is in orbit of Pleiades Sector IR-W d1-55 6, this is the same system that contains The Oracle station which will give you a base for your efforts, and an Unknown Structure site on 5 a at -36.5491, -143.6091 for when you find one.
But more than that, since this system has a population, as a result of the station, the spawn rate of Unidentified Signal Sources will be higher than in the others. And that is the first hurdle you need to overcome, as when the spawn rate is low, it will take many hours to locate a UP.
Approach the target planet, and keep an eye on the bottom-left-most display on your ship’s HUD. This is known as your Sphere of Influence (SOI), it will usually display the name of a particular body, or a general region such as Shipping Lane or Deep Space. Watch until it changes to an icon of the planet, and the name changes to the planet name, and then note the distance from the planet.
In some systems, the planet name may not fit into the space; in these you can use your navigation panel to determine the SOI. It is the entry denoted by the cyan marker.
Your ship’s scanner has a cycle rate of around 16-20s, at the end of each cycle there is a chance that it will pick up an Unidentified Signal Source (USS). If it does not detect a signal, it has to wait a complete cycle before there is another chance.
The scanner’s efficiency is affected by your ship’s speed, the sweet spot seems to be between 200km/s and 400km/s; any slower or faster, and the detection rate is reduced meaning you will need many more cycles between USS detections.
On entering the planet’s SOI, immediately slow down.
Now your patience comes in, remain within the SOI and keep a weather eye out for USS—your ship will notify you in the Info panel. Each time one is detected, target it, orient your ship towards it, and allow the scanner to obtain more information. If the USS is a Degraded Emissions (Threat 2), then you’ve found a UP! Wait until it’s safe to disengage from super cruise, drop out, and scoop it up!
UPs can be found at any point within the planet’s SOI. There is no advantage to being close to the planet, or far out; simply make sure you’re within the SOI. Likewise there is no advantage to facing towards or away from the planet, or having it targeted or not.
If the USS is not the one you want, keep on flying at the slow speed, and make sure you remain in the SOI. A common occurrence noted by commanders, and referred to as twins, is when your ship detects an additional signal source as you slow to investigate the first. Be sure to check both.
Often your scanners will detect a USS as you transition between SOIs. A trick that has worked for commanders is to take advantage of this by transitioning in and out of the planet’s SOI. As you enter, slow down as before, and wait at least 20s to see if a USS spawns; if one doesn’t, turn the ship around and head away from the planet again until the SOI indicator changes. Once more, wait at least 20s before turning around and heading back towards the planet (and it’s SOI).
If a USS spawns as you enter or leave the SOI, wait at least another 20s after it spawns before changing direction, even when it is not the correct USS type, and watch out for twins.