The beta for Elite Dangerous (opens in new tab): Horizons is now available to play for those of you secure enough in your love of space trucking to have stumped up £50 / $60 or who happen to be premium beta or alpha backers. If that's not you, Horizons is a new 'season' of expansions for Frontier's galaxy, starting with Planetary Landing. True to simulated form, that means wrestling with gravity, gliding, not planting your ship in a cliff face and disturbing the virgin landscape in a surface recon vehicle called the Scarab.
It's mainly rocks and ice for now, but we had a word with director David Braben earlier this year and apparently they'll be joined by Earth-like water worlds down the line, all generated according to real astrophysical principles.
Frontier does look to be sweating a bit under the weight of the demand, with many hopeful testers reporting monstrous download times or finding that servers are refusing to provide them with the Horizons installer. Frontier's Twitter feed (opens in new tab) is alive with updates, though, and there's hope that things will ease once the initial rush is over. Here are some screenshots of the beta to tuck into in the meantime.