Only recently discovered, these mysterious artefacts are believed to be probes, but of unknown origin. Their physical appearance makes them likely to be related to the unknown artefacts discovered in 3301. Such mystery only serves to make these objects more widely sought after by wealthy individuals and organisations alike, no matter that their unidentified status automatically prohibits them from being sold on any legal market.
— In-game Description
Unknown Probes are objects of unknown origin and purpose. They are believed to be related to the Unknown Artefacts, as they are not only similar in design, but possess the same corrosive qualities as the Artefacts. They appear to point to Merope 5 C, the planet where "Barnacles" were first found. Scanning an Unknown Probe will cause it to emit an EMP wave and burst of noise.
They have been found in Convoy Dispersal Patterns (USS) with a Threat Level 4 in the following systems:
- Ross 47
- Wolf 294
- G 99-49
Convoys carrying the Unknown Probe will usually have a Python called "Military Transport" and various strange comms chatter, as well as Anacondas of varying combat ranks. The convoy will most often also carry Meta Alloys and Reactive Armour.
They have also been found orbiting planets with ammonia atmospheres in the Pleiades Sector, at locations marked as Anomalous Signals with Threat Level 2. Systems with such planets include:
- Pleiades Sector KC-U b3-1 (Planet #8) (Found 8/30/2016)
On July 18, 3302 CMDR Rizal made use of the Advanced Discovery Scanner in the presence of an Unknown Probe after targeting it. The Unknown Probe responded by turning on its lights, charging and releasing an EMP shockwave, which in turn briefly knocked out CMDR Rizal's HUD (supposedly to grab his attention). This was accompanied by an audio burst; the Unknown Probe finally "spoke".
The forums were quick to respond, decoding the audio from the video and suggesting various experiments.A map has been drawn from the audio, showing a globe and possible coordinates. With the Unknown Probe pointing at Merope 5 C, many CMDRs are now on the hunt to find the next clue.
On August 17, 3302, the first free-floating Unknown Probe was discovered orbiting Pleiades Sector KC-U b3-1 8, a planet with an ammonia atmosphere, at an "Anomalous Signal" point of interest. This was quickly followed by additional Unknown Probe finds above other ammonia worlds in nearby systems. Finding the Probes above ammonia worlds is significant because it potentially ties the Probes to the Thargoids, who are believed to have originated on an ammonia world.
On August 20, 3302, the Unknown Probe transmission was fully decoded and revealed to contain planetary data such as radius, surface temperature, gravity and atmospheric composition. This transmission was directed at an unknown receiver on Merope 5C. In addition, the transmission included distance data that, when triangulated, was found to have been measured from the star system Col 70 Sector FY-N C21-3, which is within a group of permit-locked systems that players cannot currently access. It is believed Col 70 Sector FY-N C21-3 may be the origin point of all Unknown Probes, and contain the homeworld of their creators.