Today it was announced that the 3rd beta installment of Elite: Dangerous is now available. Below is some of the changelog notes;
Player-driven interdiction. Players can now interdict NPC ships, pulling them out of faster-than-light travel back into normal space along with the player.
Philanthropy missions added.
Fuel scooping from stars added. Keep a close eye on your temperature gauge as you refuel from the blazing surface of stars.
Asteroid mining added. Cut metal and rock from asteroids using the mining laser.
New ships added: Imperial Clipper and Federal Dropship.
Multiple ship ownership. Long requested by the community, players can keep multiple craft docked at starports, allowing for reserve ships dedicated to combat, exploration, trading and more.
Additional ship images added to loading screen .
Status panel now shows faction reputation.
New in-game controls to allow rapid switching between display screens.
Outpost landing pads now reflect low gravity environment.
Play area expanded to over 2,400 systems and 869,000 cubic light years of playable space.
Improved galaxy map, with partial name searching, range display and route finding.
Planet visuals overhaul. Planet surface types, liquids and atmospheric colours now reflect their chemical composition.
Planets display volcanic features and complex craters can create dust ejecta. Crater frequency is dependent on atmosphere thickness.
Ice planets now have fracture features.
All planets now have dynamic ice caps and liquid levels.
Asteroid belt clusters added.
Nebulae added, visible in the sky and the galaxy map.
Sounds like the game is getting fairly close to being out and is expected to be released in Q4 (late 2014/early 2015). Get excited!