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No Man's Sky guide: Save Plutonium and inventory space with careful parking

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Location, location, location

In No Man's Sky, your Starship's launch thrusters in are kind of gas-guzzlers. They use a quarter tank of Plutonium every time you lift off. If you're landing and taking off a lot, refueling them can be a pain and take up lots of room in your precious inventory. If you're careful about where you park, though, you can turn that Hummer into a Prius.

Doing the fuel tank math

From Iridium to Zinc, every slot in your Exosuit can hold a maximum 250 units of any given element. Slots in your Starship can hold twice the amount: 500 units. Either place you store it, your slots are limited.

You have to dig into menus to find out how many units you're holding, and that's kind of a pain. It pays off, though. We did the Starship math. Pour a full slot of Plutonium (250 units) into an empty Launch Thruster tank, and you'll fill it up with a bit left over — 50 units, to be exact. So, just to be clear, your Launch Thruster can slurp up a maximum of 200 Plutonium units.

Unless you're in special locations, every liftoff will cost your 25 percent of your tank. Do the math: In raw units, it costs you 50 Plutonium to take off.

The landing pads at Outposts, Trading Posts and Space Stations don't cost anything to launch from. If you make sure you're close enough before you initiate a landing, you'll lock in to one of these "official" landing spots.

There's one more place, though, that serves the same purpose. There are small mechanisms located near some waypoints and points of interest that you can use to call your ship. That's their stated use. Their unstated use, however, can save you a lot of fuel.

If you're careful when choosing when to land, you can touch down right next to them, and you won't need to spend any fuel to take off again.

You can also take advantage of this by landing your ship anywhere you want — it costs no fuel to land — and then looking for one of these terminals out while walking. (Keep in mind that you'll need a Bypass Chip to call your ship.) The pillars pictured above are typically placed near any locations bigger than a Settlement, like Transmission Towers, Operation Centres and Observatories. If you're lucky enough to stumble onto an Outpost while out walking, you can use the terminal provided at the landing pad to achieve the same result.

Calling your ship to you won't spend any fuel — and you can launch from where your ship lands for free.

Would you like to know more?

No Man's Sky is a largely solitary experience, but you don't have to travel the universe alone.

This is just one small section of Polygon's No Man's Sky guide. Be sure to check out the rest, where you can learn all about your ship, your Multi-Tool and Companion Units and even get answers to some of the biggest questions about No Man's Sky. We also have a guide to No Man's Sky's resources that'll teach you the difference between Oxides and Silicates as we explain No Man's Sky's elements.

And if you're just looking for a quick reference guide to locations, like where you can save and trade — we've got you covered — too.