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How to make money in No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky is the space experience players were dying to try. With over 18 million planets to visit, it’s a sandbox-style game that lets you travel galaxies, make alien friends, and even find your riches. The universe is your traveling oyster. However, making money is one of the most important parts of creating the best base, upgrading your items, and buying the best stuff.

But making money in No Man’s Sky can take some time. You’ll start off with empty pockets, but you can quickly increase your income pretty easily. We have a few ways to help make you a space billionaire.

Further reading

Currency in No Man’s Sky

No Man's Sky
Image used with permission by copyright holder

There are three primary currencies at this time in No Man’s Sky. You’ll have a chance to earn Units, Nanites, and Quicksilver and trade these things for some awesome perks. Each type of currency will be picked up in different ways, so raking up the cash may seem confusing.

Units are the most basic form of cash in the game. If you’re just starting out, you’ll quickly realize that, out of the three currencies, this one seems to fill up the fastest. Nanites are the second most common, but not common enough that you can easily make millions. They’re a little harder to find, but what you can get for trading them is better than using Units. Finally, there’s Quicksilver, which is arguably one of the most sought-after currencies. Quicksilver can be used on the Space Anomaly, and you can pick up awesome customizations, decorations, and even the start of a living ship with Quicksilver.

Getting these three currencies will vary a little. There are a few overlaps regarding where to earn each currency, but you can choose how you want to become rich.

Nexus missions

One of the best ways to earn any of the three types of currency is by doing missions in the Nexus. When you first visit the Space Anomaly, you’ll notice a giant cube in the middle of the landing zone where players seem to gather. This cube, the Nexus, is one of the best places to pick up missions to earn some cash.

Doing Nexus missions is also the only way to earn Quicksilver. Sure, you may be lucky enough to have an NPC occasionally pay you in Quicksilver, but most of your Quicksilver income is going to come from doing missions (either alone or with other players) from the Nexus. Each Nexus mission will show you what you’ll win, so finding one with a Quicksilver reward won’t be tough. Each reward mission is about 450 Quicksilver plus one additional item. You’ll have the chance to do about one Quicksilver mission a day, but keep your eyes open for events. Occasionally, No Man’s Sky will hold events where you can do more than one Quicksilver mission.

Additionally, Nexus missions will have missions that will reward you in Nanites and Units. Picking up and completing these missions is a great way to find new planets and galaxies while making some quick cash as well.

The mission listing agent

When traveling the galaxy, it’s best to stop at each Space Station you run across — not just because you can unlock the warp pad there and always come back, but also because it’s a great way to make some fast cash. The Space Stations will have a variety of ways for you to make some quick money.

One of the first places you should visit at a Space Station is the missions listing agent. This guy is on the right side; he’s in the usually-blue space that’s on the same side as (and usually next to) the Galactic Trade Terminal. The missions listing agent will have a variety of missions that you can complete for some quick cash. The missions themselves aren’t usually difficult, and, honestly, they can feel repetitive if you’re farming him. However, it’s a great way to make some money.

If you stop at every missions listing agent at every Space Station, you’ll also notice that they have different (sometimes overlapping) missions. That’s because different factions (Korvax, Gek, and Vy’keen) all run the different Space Stations. You can take on any and all the missions you want, which is a great way to farm cash. If a Korvax Space Station and Gek Space Station want the same thing done, you can get twice the cash reward for doing both of their missions at the same time.

Missions from the missions listing agent will usually pay out in Units, but they do occasionally pay out in Nanites. If you’re farming a particular currency, pay attention to what the mission rewards are. And pick up the missions you can actually complete.

Galactic Trade Terminal

No Man's Sky galactic trade terminal
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While on the Space Station, it may also behoove you to visit the Galactic Trade Terminal. This little terminal is the perfect place to buy important items that may be tough to locate in the system. It’s also a great place to buy and sell things to make some quick cash.

The Galactic Trade Terminal will list items that are special to that galaxy. The first couple of items to sell are usually things that you may not use. You can stop at one terminal and buy out the rare items it has, then travel to another Space Station’s Galactic Trade Terminal and sell the items for a marked-up cost. The reason the cost would be marked up at another terminal is because each item in the terminal is marked based on the rarity in each galaxy. So, let’s say a Korvax Space Station is abundant in holographic crankshafts. You could buy out the terminal’s stock of crankshafts and sell it at a Space Station that has marked the holographic crankshaft up to net a profit. It’s actually one of the best ways to make Units fast.

The Galactic Trade Terminal works more like a stock market, so be careful when buying and selling here. You could unintentionally crash the stock market on that Space Station. However, it’s not like you couldn’t go to another Space Station afterward.

And, if possible, be sure to shop around at different terminals before selling things. Since each galaxy will fetch a different price for different items depending on the abundance of the item, compare prices before selling.

Guild Envoys

While on the Space Station, be sure to also stop and talk to every Guild Envoy. These guys are usually in the green counter, right next to the mission listing agent. Although you can only do this once per Space Station, stopping and speaking with the Guild Envoy will get you some nice rewards.

Occasionally, he’ll even pass you Nanites or Units for your travels. It may not be a whole lot of income all at once, but every bit counts. And if you stop at every Space Station, that income can add up really quickly. It’s easy money and not really a big deal if you have to stop at a Space Station.

In our experience, Guild Envoys in Korvax galaxies are more likely to pass out Nanites than any other fraction. However, this may just be a coincidence, so be sure to keep trying different Guild Envoys!

Humming sacs, whispering eggs, and ancient bones, oh my!

While exploring, you may have found a little icon that indicates a humming sac or a whispering egg. These items always fetch a high price at space terminals, and you can really rake in the Units by picking these bad boys up and selling them. Humming sacs are easy and simple to grab. You can find them inside or at the mouth of caves and pick them up with ease.

Whispering eggs will require a little more tact to pick up. As soon as you get the whispering egg to explode, numerous biological horrors will wake up and start chasing you. One of the best ways to get a whispering egg is to build four walls around the egg before you break it open. This way, you can stand inside your makeshift room with the whispering egg, break it open, and pick up the Larval Core while the biological horrors run around outside of your box. However, maybe wait until you either have a strong jet pack or a good multi-tool weapon before doing this, just in case.

Also, if you find a planet that has a lot of buried, ancient bones, those fetch a high price. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself on a planet with ancient bones and are in need of some units, be sure to pick these up!

Space pirates and increased reputation

Farming space pirates is another great way to make cash quick. When in outer space, you’ll get a warning about a threat. Assuming you don’t have the space police on your tail, it will generally be an alert about a space pirate. Shooting down pirates will give you different cash rewards depending on their “wanted” level. However, taking out even a one-star pirate will net you about 10,000 Units. It’s a fun way to do some fighting and earn some cash real quick.

Taking out space pirates doesn’t just get you money; it also increases your reputation with the galaxy. Increasing your reputation in each galaxy will net you different rewards. The better the reputation, the better the reward. Simply speaking with NPCs at Space Stations and trading posts can help you increase your reputation as well. Be sure to speak to everyone and, when possible, give each appropriate faction their own artifacts. Give Gek artifacts to Geks, Korvaxs cubes to Korvaxs, and Vy’keen weapons to Vy’keens to increase your reputation and rewards. You may even get Nanites or Units as a reward.

Don’t forget to upload scanned data

One of the fun things about space exploration in No Man’s Sky is scanning living creatures, plants, and minerals on every planet. However, every scanned item can translate to Nanites. After scanning, be sure to check out your Discoveries menu. To get there, hit Options on your controller, then scroll over using R2 or L2 to Discoveries. You’ll have to navigate into the main menu of the Discoveries section by pressing O. This way, you’ll see a list of every planet you’ve visited. At the top, you’ll see an Up Arrow in a Circle. Clicking this will upload everything.

Remembering to upload is important because it will pay you out in Nanites. Every upload is worth five Nanites, so scanning eight things on a new planet will earn you 40 Nanites. Remembering to upload your Discoveries will be a fast and easy way to pick up more money.

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Leijah Petelka
Leijah Petelka is a freelance gaming guides writer for Digital Trends. She covers a variety of game types, but she does love…
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