Thousands of Elite Dangerous players—over 8,000, according to the sign-up sheet—are preparing to embark on another incredible voyage across the Milky Way. The destination is Beagle Point, some 65,279 light years from Earth, past the galactic core, at the very edge of the galaxy. The journey is expected to take 18 weeks, and like last time, casualties are expected.
The first Distant Worlds expedition also targeted Beagle Point, retreading the journey taken by Commander Erimus and the DSS Beagle—hence the name of the destination. Though the target remains Beagle, the hope is that Distant Worlds 2 will bring new discoveries and accomplishments.
"With the advent of new scanning and mining technologies, along with the most comprehensive database of knowledge the explorers of the centuries have gathered being released to the public, the sun is rising on a whole new Age of Discovery," reads Erimus' Distant Worlds 2 mission statement. "The Codex talks of profound mysteries; unfound, unseen, unknown. The call of the black is on us, and it’s time for us to blaze a new trail once again in the largest expedition ever organised. Join us as we journey through the heart of the Milky Way, to the other side, old grounds, through the furthest reaches of exploration and science, to discover these mysteries beyond the distance. To work as a team, to share the excitement, to create memories of a kind we can’t yet fathom."
The expedition is set to begin on January 13, at which point the fleet, which includes solo fliers and groups, will begin traversing the galaxy from the Pallaeni system, meeting at waypoints each weekend to share exploration data and celebrate with events and games before embarking on the next leg.
The Beagle Point run is considered the second most treacherous solo journey in Elite, and this will be the largest group effort to make the run. To facilitate the journey, a variety of departments will handle logistics, repairs, mining, cartography, industry and more. One goal is to build a science research station near Sagittarius A, the center of the galaxy and the site of a supermassive black hole. Once the station is completed, the Distant Worlds 2 expedition will continue the trek.
If you want to take part, you'll either need a ship with a minimum jump range of 34 light years or passage on a multi-crew ship. I'm content to watch from afar, though with a tinge of envy for those who are able to participate in such a grand, shared journey. You can learn more about the expedition on the Elite Dangerous forums.