Exploration guideElite: Dangerous offer the possibility to go explore new places - places that no one else has found. When doing so you gain money and get your name into the universe map, with a tag saying first found by. To reach the Elite rank in exploration you will need to earn around 80 million from exploring. Before adventuring into the unknown, you will need some special equipment. Exploration can be done in any game-mode.
The equipmentThe bare minimum equipment you will need to explore is a ship, a fuel scoop and a basic Discovery scanner. If you can stretch the extra I highly recommend using a Advanced Discovery Scanner, Detailed Surface Scanner with a good fuel scoop. These make the process a lot easier.
The Advanced Discovery Scanner finds everything in a system rather the limited range both the Basic (500ls) and Intermediate (1,000) scanners. This makes finding stuff much easier. The Surface Scanner allows you to scan planets and gas-giants for extra money.
I would also suggest changing most/all cargo modules to fuel tanks (if possible). Increasing your fuel reserves allows you travel further without the need of constant refuelling. In some cases it can even increase the maximum jump-range, as some ships can be limited by a small fuel-tank. The biggest worry when exploring is running out of fuel, so always look at refuelling when around 50% or lower. If you run out of fuel, then its game-over.
I would recommend installing a shield, as you dont want to explode for any crazy reason - otherwise all your exploration data will be lost.
The shipTechnically any ship can go exploring, but some are better than others. Ideally you want a ship that can jump 30ly+, so the largest frame-shift drive is a must. Ships such as the Asp, Hauler and even the Anaconda are good exploration vessels. Ideally install D class equipment, because its lighter. Make sure you swap most of the internal compartments for fuel-tanks, install a good fuel-scoop and the necessary scanners. Weapons aren't really necessary, as there should be no-one else out there. However a shield is a good idea, in case you bump into anything. Once done, then you're ready to head off to the unknown.
Heading into the unknownOnce you have a ship ready, then bring up your universe map and head in a direction. With the more recent updates you can select a location up-to 1,0000ly away. You may need to do this a few times to get around from previously explored systems. You still get money for scanning previously explored objects but around 50% less, plus you dont get your name into the map. Please note when heading into the unknown there wont be any stations/outposts to land on.
What do I do now?Once your away from home its time to start scanning. I recommend you use your Discovery Scanner first (by assigning it to a fire-group). This should show you nearby objects on your system map. If you have a Surface scanner, you can select a object then when in range (and facing the correct direction), scan the object for more information. Generally your looking to find world like worlds, as these pay the most.
The moneyGenerally exploration isnt high reward, however it can offer the possibility of finding things that no-one else has. However below is a rough guide to how much to expect for finding;
Here's a short video explaining exploration;