Unknown Ship
Elite Dangerous Unknown Ship HD
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The Unknown Ship is an alien vessel used by the Thargoids. Examples of this alien ship were first encountered on January 5, 3303: Commanders were interdicted by Unknown Ships while traveling through hyperspace and pulled into normal space with their systems disabled, after which they were scanned and the Unknown Ships jumped away. The wreckage found at Alien Crash Sites consists of these ships.


Very little is currently known about the capabilities of Unknown Ships. They have not yet been seen deploying weapons or demonstrating overtly hostile intent. They do have the ability to interdict human ships traveling through hyperspace: Commanders experiencing an interdiction are alerted by their ships that their hyperspace conduit has become unstable shortly before dropping out of hyperspace due to a Frame Shift Drive malfunction. All ship systems and controls with the exception of life support are disabled by the interdiction, similar to the effect produced by scanning Unknown Probes, but with a longer duration.

Unknown Ships are also known to have scanners of some kind which they utilize on those whom they interdict, as well as jump drives that leave a hitherto undocumented wake signature. While the wake signature can be scanned, it is unidentifiable, currently making impossible to pursue an Unknown Ship; attempting to charge the FSD with this signature as the destination results in another FSD malfunction.

Unknown Ships currently cannot be damaged or destroyed. They possess immensely strong shields that are either highly damage-resistant or outright impervious to conventional weaponry. The window of opportunity between when Commanders regain control of their ship and an Unknown Ship escapes into hyperspace is also very brief, precluding any extensive testing of weapons on Unknown Ships.

Connection to Alien StructuresEdit

Unknown Ship Barnacle Laser

Unknown Ship Barnacle laser

On June 2, 3303, CMDR Mobiusetti documented the first known interaction between an Unknown Ship and Alien Structures on Pleiades Sector OI-T C3-7 A 6 at coordinates -42.778, -21.713, confirming the two are related. The Unknown Ship approached one Alien Structure, incapacitating any nearby ships and SRVs. The craft then rotated until its propulsion array faced and was aligned with the Alien Structure, before drawing a pulsing beam of light or energy from it for a brief period. The Unknown Ship then departed as rapidly as it arrived. It is possible that Alien Structures serve as refueling stations of some kind for Unknown Ships, and the Meta-Alloys they produce are fuel or repair materials for them, but this is currently only conjecture.[1]

Origin Edit

Professor Palin determined the vessels’ origin by comparing data from the Unknown Ships with older Thargoid samples. Palin’s experiments resulted in conclusive proof that the Unknown Ships were Thargoid.[2]

The research data was seized by Federal agents who wanted to convey it to a Federal research facility. However, the ships carrying the data were attacked by Thargoid vessels and the data leaked into the public domain. The Federal Times conducted further research on the cryptic data before publishing the report on June 16, 3303.

Early EncountersEdit

Approx. Location Date Notes
Aries Dark Region ON-T C3-10 Jan. 6, 3303 Video
Pleiades Sector OI-T C3-8 Jan. 5, 3303 First ever encounter of an Unknown Ship by Commander DP Sayre; Video, PC Gamer interview
Pleiades Sector WK-N B7-2 Jan. 6, 3303 Video
Pleiades Sector WO-A C1 Jan. 6 3303 Video
Pleiades Sector DR-M B7-0 Jan. 6, 3303 Video


  • It is a common misconception that carrying an Unknown Artefact or having carried one at some point affects or triggers an encounter with an Unknown Ship. Extensive player testing has confirmed that Unknown Artefacts have no effect on a player's chance for an encounter, which is believed to be purely random.
  • Encounters are seemingly limited to an undefined area around the Pleiades Nebula and Maia.[3] Some players have reported encounters in systems as far as 215 ly away from Merope.[4]
  • When players are interdicted by an Unknown Ship, they drop out of hyperspace at a random location within the star system they were originally trying to jump from.
  • A basic scan by targeting the ship will provide the Unknown Ship Signature encoded data, while scanning the ship's wake will provide Unknown Wake Data. Both of these will appear in your ship's data list, though they do not appear to have Engineering applications at this time.
  • When an Unknown Ship is preparing to enter hyperspace, it creates a portal or wormhole similar to those made by Farragut Battle Cruisers and Majestic Class Interdictors. It is impossible to enter this portal as the player's ship is rebuffed by an invisible force.
  • The power-outage effect of the interdiction appears to go much further than that of the unknown probes. In additional to shutting down modules and the HUD, all non-functional instruments in the cockpit switch off, including the illuminated keyboard in the Sidewinder, the core monitors on the Diamondback Scout and all lights and holographic displays in the Imperial Cutter. Despite this, life support does not appear to be affected.
  • Beginning with update 2.3 (and originally seen in the 2.3 beta), Unknown Ships can be encountered through certain distress call missions. Upon dropping out of supercruise at the source of the distress call, the player arrives in a green, gaseous cloud and their ship is disabled. Multiple Federal Corvette wrecks, bearing luminescent green residue where they are damaged and with their crews apparently dead, are adrift in the cloud, and a single Unknown Ship can be seen jumping away. Presumably, the Unknown Ship destroyed all of the Corvettes on its own. A black box canister, the objective of the mission, can be salvaged from the wreckage.


See AlsoEdit


  1. YouTube: They're Here...
  2. Galactic News: The Thargoids have Returned
  3. Elite Dangerous Forums: Plotting Alien Ship Pulls - Need Your Help Commanders!
  4. /r/EliteDangerous: Unknown Ships have breached the UA Shell! Just got interdicted 215LY from Merope!

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