Research (Mechanic)

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Research is the main mechanic in Astroneer to obtain Bytes, which are used to unlock the schematics for most Items in the game. To obtain bytes, players must find either Research Samples, Research Items, or EXO Dynamics Research Aids. Consuming the former on the spot, or placing either of the first two into a Research Chamber will then produce bytes, with each sample and item giving different amounts determined by appearance and location found.

Tips for Researching

  • Players can gain an initial amount of bytes at the start of the game by consuming Research Samples found on various plants and rocks on every Planet.
  • Research Samples are of small size and give significantly more bytes when researched in a Research Chamber, rather than just by scanning them. This is most useful early in the game, or later in the game when paired with Automation.
  • Research Items are of medium size and should be used in Research Chambers first, as they tend to give more bytes than samples. A disadvantage is, that they are bigger and more difficult to transport. They can be packaged up for easier transport.
  • EXO Dynamics Research Aids are of large size and can be found on all Planets. They have to be opened either by placing an appropriate Item on their input slots or supplying enough Power to their cable connectors. The icon on the side of the capsule shows what is needed. The inside of the capsule contains either a Research Sample, a Research Item, or a very rare Item, the player can put to good use.
  • Once the player has a steady stream of bytes from Research Items, consuming samples will save time and space, as items from more difficult planets give more bytes than samples.
  • The Research Catalog is where players go to spend their bytes on schematics, opened with Tab on PC, Xbox One - Back Button on XBox, PS4 - Touch Pad on PS4, Switch - Minus on Switch or clicking the left handle of the Backpack.


  • Research has gone through many changes over the many updates the game has had. In the pre-alpha initial release, research items were pods that, when placed into a chamber, would open and automatically unlock a schematic. It has changed a few times since then, with Patch 0.5.0 being a major overhaul of the system, introducing bytes and the research catalog, with research samples being added in Patch 0.9.0, then called harvestables.


See Also