It's not long into a playthrough of No Man's Sky that you'll spot a door, or maybe a crate, which refuses to open for those without an Atlas Pass v1, v2 or v3. Much like the questions of how to expand your inventory space and how to get off the first planet, Atlas Passes in No Man's Sky are left peculiarly unexplained - and whilst answers to much of the game's minor questions can be found with our No Man's Sky guide, tips and tricks for survival, the Atlas Passes dilemma is one which needs a little more space to explain. So what are these mysterious key cards, what do they unlock, and how do you get them?
What are Atlas Passes for in No Man's Sky?
Atlas Passes - v1, v2 and v3 - are essentially infinite-use key cards which unlock certain doors or storage containers throughout the game. Their uses seem to vary slightly, but generally you'll find they work as follows:
- Atlas Pass v1 - The v1 Pass is generally used to unlock two things: space station doors, and storage containers. In a each space station you encounter, there should be two doors, one of which always leads to an alien and Galactic Trade Network terminal, whilst the other is locked off. The locked door can be opened with an Atlas Pass v1, and inside normally grants some pretty useful rewards. In our experience, for each space station this door will always lead to a room with a particularly useful exosiut inventory expansion, along with a multi-tool technology point, occasionally some minor Isotope-granting plants, and another door which requires an Atlas Pass v3 to open.
- Atlas Pass v2 - The v2 Pass is largely used for opening doors on-planet, inside the various structures such as Colonial Outposts or Factories. At this point we haven't confirmed what lies inside, although some have suggested there may be story-related items or events within them.
- Atlas Pass v3 - The v3 Pass is used for high-level doors, most notably within the inner sections of space stations. There will normally be two v3-locked doors in the section of the space station that houses the Trading Point, along with another one or two within the v1-locked area on the other side. As with the v2, we haven't been able to confirm the contents so far.
Want to get the most out of No Man's Sky? Check out our main No Man's Sky guide, tips and tricks page, plus our advice on the best, fastest way to earn money, how to fix your ship, what to do first, and how to increase inventory space. We also show how to use a massive No Man's Sky exploit for infinite rare resources, along with explaining how to save, how to get the elusive Atlas Passes, the Antimatter recipe, Zinc, and how to get the Hyperdrive and its required Warp Cells in No Man's Sky. Finally, for the completionists, we also have walkthroughs for the Atlas Path, reaching the centre of the galaxy, and achieving all of No Man's Sky's Journey Milestones.
How to get the Atlas Pass v1 in No Man's Sky
That Atlas Pass v1 is, as things stand, the only Pass which all players are pretty much guaranteed to acquire during a main story playthrough. Those of you not wishing to know a single thing about No Man's Sky story, look away now - although why are you here?! Players will receive the recipe for an Atlas Pass v1, which can be very easily constructed from a small amount of basic materials, from a small Gek alien called Polo, inside the first Space Anomaly you encounter.
Space Anomalies, if you aren't already aware, normally appear along the path of the Atlas, which you can select in your Galactic Map if you chose the option at the start of the game (or at any point after). Once you've reached your first Atlas Interface, the first Space Anomaly should appear in the next system you warp to. Polo and another alien will be inside the Anomaly - which looks like a standard space station, although there is also a space station in that system too - and talking to them will grant you a couple of nice pieces of loot alongside the Atlas Pass v1 recipe.
How to get the Atlas Pass v2 and v3 in No Man's Sky
The Atlas Pass v2 and v3 are a different proposition to the relatively easy to find v1. As things stand, the proper methods for acquiring them are unconfirmed, with many suggesting that they were either bugged, not in the game at all, or only revealed to the player after reaching the game's ending.
However, there are one or two players on the No Man's Sky subreddit who claim to have acquired one of each. According to user DoxGotEm - who went as far as to provide a screenshot as evidence of their possession of the Pass - a recipe for the v2 Pass can be found by pure chance from one of the Operations Centres you'll find on a planet's surface. You can track down Operations Centres a little faster by using one of the Signal Scanners - identified by the vertical orange beams they shoot up into the air - and selecting 'Colonial Outpost' from the options it provides.
Likewise, the Atlas Pass v3 is reportedly discovered with a similar case of pure good fortune, from within any Colonial Outpost found via the same method above. Redditor Flannflann64, who seems to be the only person claiming to own a v3 Pass, claims that five or six visits to one of these Outposts should be enough, with the Atlas Pass v3 recipe provided from the central terminal after solving the simple puzzle correctly. It's also claimed that the v3 Pass can in fact open doors which require a v2 Pass, meaning that once you have a v3, you should be all set (and can save yourself an inventory slot for the v2, too).