Elite Dangerous players have only explored 0.003 percent of the galaxy

It's going to be a long time before the Milky Way is fully explored.

Elite Dangerous' version of our Milky Way Galaxy is pretty damn accurate, which is to say that it's incomprehensibly massive. There's some 400 billion stars out in the void beyond the bubble of inhabited systems, and, despite all of the intrepid adventurers, pilots have a long way to go before they've even seen one percent of what's out there.

According to Elite Dangerous Star Map (EDSM), a handy database where players can log their discoveries and other useful data related to Elite, players have only discovered 15,779,755 star systems. That's around 0.003941 percent of the estimated total number in our galaxy. At the current rate at which systems are being discovered, it'll take only 56,206 years before we find them all.

EDSM's database only accounts for players who have taken the time to upload their discoveries to it, so naturally it's not a complete census. But even if we doubled that number of discovered systems to account for console players and those who don't upload their discoveries, it's still an astonishingly low number.

This comes off the back of a post by redditor ModishNouns, who aggregated data from another database, EDDB.io, to create this incredible star map of known systems you see below (here is the hi-res version). Seeing every path an adventurer has taken in Elite is sobering—there's so many pockets of unexplored space that could hold all sorts of secrets that Frontier Developments might have sprinkled into the game. 

The map also has some amusing little easter eggs. If you look at the hi-res version, you'll see it's actually a series of tiny dots marking each discovered system. A few clever players have managed to create shapes or spell out words—their own little mark on the galaxy.

I love how dedicated Elite's players are to exploring. My own voyage into the great beyond wasn't nearly as satisfying as I'd hoped, but I'm glad that others are persevering. And they should do it while they can. With the recent encounters with extraterrestrial life, the Milky Way might end up being a lot more hostile in the future. 

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