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The Best Ways to Make Money in No Man’s Sky

Given the massive size of the universe in No Man’s Sky, there is no shortage of things you have to do. However, even in the farthest reaches of space, you will need money to purchase new ships, trade for supplies and resources, and upgrade your equipment. With so many ways to play the game, it can be challenging to know how to efficiently earn money, or “units” as they’re called in No Man’s Sky.

This can be rather troublesome, especially since you need millions of units to really get ahead and acquire some of the best items like a high-class ship. That’s why we’ll be exploring ten of the best and most creative ways to make money in No Man’s Sky.

10 Best Ways to Make Money in No Man’s Sky

Our money-making methods are not ranked in any particular order.

However, we do try to start with options that are more accessible to you early on in the game, and work our way down to later options.

1. Salvaged Data & Ancient Bones

One of the earliest ways to make a lot of money in No Man’s Sky is to use your analysis visor to locate salvaged data buried on planets. You’ll get ahold of an analysis visor before you even leave your first planet, and one of the earliest tutorial missions will go over how to locate and dig up salvaged data.

Of course, this data is very valuable for early players for other reasons, as it’s the only way to unlock new parts for your base. However, don’t spend your early salvaged data too quickly, as many unlockable building parts will gradually unlock for free if you continue playing through the main missions.

Save the data for later, and when you’ve unlocked enough parts for your structures, you can sell the rest for units on the galactic market!

Salvaged bones are the best early way to make money in No Man's Sky.
(Image: Hello Games)

Ancient bones function in a similar way for mid-game players. You can scan planets from afar with your ship to see if there are ancient bones on the planet, then go down and dig them up to sell them for huge piles of units.

Any planet with ancient bones will likely have a massive amount of them just under the surface. This process will become quicker and easier once you unlock an Exocraft to traverse the planetary surface.

2. Galactic Trade Terminals

Trading on the galactic trade terminals is one of the easiest ways to make some quick units in No Man’s Sky. You can start to do this once you’ve visited more than one space station across different star systems.

Various trade goods will be available at the trade terminals, with prices varying and indicated by green or red codes to inform you if you’re getting a good deal or not at that particular terminal. You can fill your inventory with whatever strange items you can afford and then either fly your ship to another system to sell the goods or use the station’s portal to quickly and easily switch between stations.

Trade terminal menu with various items and prices.
(Image: Hello Games via HGG / Nathan Hart)

Two ways to speed up this process and make it more exciting are using a freighter to carry the maximum number of trade goods and then continuously jumping to new systems instead of repeating the same trades repeatedly. This way, you can explore many more systems, and your gameplay loop will be more interesting than just watching the swirling colors that appear when you teleport between stations.

Another trick is to visit illicit pirate-run systems, where you can acquire black-market goods. These items can be sold in various systems for much more money than you bought them for, but there is added risk involved in avoiding station authorities.

3. Raiding Freighters

As you fly around the galaxy, you’ll run into some huge freighters out in the darkness of space. Some of these freighters will be carrying immense quantities of varying goods along their hull or in smaller transport ships. If you’ve got a ship that’s ready for combat and you want to get the most out of it, you can become a pirate yourself and start hunting these innocent merchants for loot.

Raid freighters and sell their goods to make a lot of money in No Man's Sky.
(Image: Hello Games via HGG / Nathan Hart)

In planet-side areas, you may come across resource storage caches managed by Sentinels that function similarly. Bring a Minotaur exosuit to help you break through the robotic defense around these areas, then destroy the storage to collect all the resources inside.

Alternatively, you can also take a less hostile path and farm meteors for resources to earn money while staying inside the comfort of your starship.

4. Expand The Catalog

This option to make money is available from the very beginning, and it’s one of the most unique features of No Man’s Sky. The game’s world is vibrant and endless, with each new planet randomly generated to preserve a sense of discovery for new players. Every No Man’s Sky player has discovered at least one new planet all to themselves.

Once you obtain your analysis visor, you can scan the fauna, flora, and minerals all over the planets you explore, earning units for each creature you add to your catalog. If you’re seeking to earn nanites along with your units, you’ll want to find brand-new worlds to scan and then upload those discoveries to the shared catalog that all players can access.

Scan the environment regularly on new planets to earn units and nanites.
(Image: Hello Games via HGG / Nathan Hart)

You’ll want to search for an upgrade for your analysis visor as soon as possible. A high-level upgrade can exponentially increase the reward for scanning your environment, often enhancing individual kinds of scans such as flora or minerals. This upgrade will fit into your multi-tool, so ensure you leave one or two slots available on your preferred scanning tool to maximize your scanning gains.

5. Whispering Eggs

As you explore the galaxy, you’ll come across areas that have been overrun with a strange, corrupting sludge. Near these areas, you may occasionally encounter pods reminiscent of the Whispering Eggs seen in Ridley Scott’s Alien movies. These pods can be destroyed to collect what is known as a Larval Core, a valuable resource that you can sell on the galactic trade terminal.

A minotaur suit flies through the sky in NMS.
A minotaur suit will help with fighting biological horrors! (Image: Hello Games via HGG / Nathan Hart)

Be cautious though, as several hostile aliens known as Biological Horrors will emerge from the ground and attack you. Larval cores also quickly disappear, so you need to quickly secure them while defending yourself against the insectoid threats. Afterward, hiding in your ship will prevent the Biological Horrors from attacking you, so we recommend grabbing as many cores as possible before skipping town on the planet.

6. Starbase & Nexus Quests

You can obtain quests from different systems, galaxies, and the Nexus. These can be a quick and interesting way to earn some money, with some being incredibly easy while others require significant time and effort to complete.

Quests range from violent missions like taking down sentinels or hunting specific pirates to simple tasks like gathering a certain amount of resources and delivering them to another star system. Doing quests is an excellent way to pass the time while earning valuable resources, and they also gradually increase your reputation with various factions in the game.

Quests are an entertaining way to make money in No Man's Sky.
(Image: Hello Games via HGG / Nathan Hart)

You can pick up quests from the Nexus as well as from the quest station located on each space station. While you can pick up several quests at once, you can only pick up a maximum of six quests from each location.

Completing quests is an excellent way to earn multi-tool expansion slots, and you can easily complete many of them without going out of your way, especially the sentinel-slaying quests frequently found in Vy’Keen sectors.

7. Chlorine Farming

The most passive way to make money in No Man’s Sky is to start a chlorine farm. Simply locate some “salt” minerals on a planet and process them into chlorine. Then, using oxygen extractors at your base, you can multiply your stores of chlorine by combining it with oxygen. Keep repeating this process until you have a surplus of chlorine that you can sell for profit!

A player stands in front of their base in NMS
(Image: Hello Games via HGG / Nathan Hart)

While you’re at it, you can set up numerous other farms on-site, right at your base. Make sure you have an efficient energy system set up at the base so you don’t need to waste carbon on generators.

8. Gravatino Balls

You can find these items scattered across various planets, and they’re worth quite a bit of units if you can get a hold of them. They will always spawn on planets with hostile sentinel populations, and planets with mild weather can spawn Sentinel Plants that grow them in a renewable fashion.

They are easily detectable with your analysis visor, and you’ll find them buried near ancient ruins. They’re an unusual anomaly that attracts sentinels when you pick them up, requiring you to quickly flee the area or face waves of increasingly powerful robots.

A gravatino ball - best way to make money in No Man's Sky
(Image: Hello Games via HGG / Nathan Hart)

Beyond just finding them, you can also grow them with the aid of a farmer and the Gravatino Host plant. Selling them at the Galactic trade terminal should net you around 40,000 units.

The existence of dangerous items like this and the consequences for harvesting them is what makes No Man’s Sky one of the best survival games.

9. Freighter Expeditions

Eventually, while you are traveling the cosmos, you will come across a distressed freighter under attack by pirates. If your ship is properly equipped, you’ll be able to take down the pirates with ease.

Afterward, the captain of the freighter will offer to let you come aboard to meet them. Once you’re on the deck, the commander of the freighter will offer to let you take control of the ship for free. You’ll be able to use it as a mobile base that can be summoned from one system to another.

A holographic image of a ship inside of a room
(Image: Hello Games via HGG / Nathan Hart)

The best part of this, however, is the ability to create Fleet Command Stations that can command frigate fleets to go on Expeditions. This will generate a huge amount of revenue, as the frigates will passively return to you after many hours, bringing back both a flat amount of units and various resources that can be sold at the Galactic trading terminal.

10. Crashed Ship Retrieval

One of the best ways to make money in No Man’s Sky is to chase down crashed ships on planets across the galaxy. Using distress signal maps, you can pinpoint the possible location of a downed ship. The analysis scanner on the Minotaur or Nautilon will also reveal these locations.

Upon arriving, you will find a damaged ship, not much different from the first one you find at the beginning of the game.

A newly-salvaged ship flies through an asteroid field.
(Image: Hello Games via HGG / Nathan Hart)

Just like that initial ship, you will need to install various components into the damaged parts of the ship until the launch thrusters and pulse engine are both functioning again. Once they are, you can launch the ship and fly it to the nearest station.

Once you are there, you have the option to either exchange the ship for a flat amount of units by salvaging it for parts and selling them, or you can exchange it for a different ship. Either way, make sure to empty the cargo hold before making the sale, or you could lose valuable items.

Join The High Ground!

With these tips in your pocket, you should soon have enough money to pick up your new dream ship in No Man’s Sky. Let us know what you think about our money-making methods in the comments below, especially if you have an even better tip!

And make sure to subscribe to the High Ground Gaming mailing list and follow us on all social media for more intergalactic advice.

Happy gaming!


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