Meta-alloys have a complex lattice structure with large internal voids. They are cellular in nature, and formed organically. They are incredibly strong - much stronger than foamed aluminium for example. Many elements form the structure so technically they are alloys, but the composition is different in different parts of the cell walls for strength. They are good thermal insulators, and have a high melting point, but if they are melted they lose all their special properties and become a conventional alloy. They are easily machined, but as yet cannot be manufactured, only found in space. They are associated with recently discovered alien entities nicknamed 'Large Barnacles' by interstellar explorers. These appear to be common in certain parts of space, although no-one is certain why. This material has been heralded as the next step in materials technology. It is ultra-light and stronger and more versatile than most commercially available alloys.
— In-game description
Meta-Alloys is an Industrial Material commodity produced by Thargoid Barnacles. They are used by the Thargoids to construct their ships and other technologies. At present, Darnielle's Progress on Maia A 2 A is the only facility that offers Meta-Alloys for sale, but its available supply is usually limited to only 2 units.
Discovery and research
Meta-alloys can drop on the destruction of certain Thargoid Barnacle Barbs with an enlarged bulb visible near their tip which appears to be the alloy itself. The Barbs can be found in the immediate surroundings of a Thargoid Barnacle, examples of which have now been found in multiple systems in the vicinity of Merope. Before the origins of Barnacles were uncovered, xenobiologists such as Dr. Elana Lorax expressed concerns that harvesting meta-alloys could be an ecologically-damaging practice, a theory which was partially confirmed in 3305. Although Barnacles were artificial lifeforms created and seeded by the Thargoids to extract and convert natural resources into meta-alloys, they had limitations, and could eventually cease to produce new meta-alloys if over-harvested.
Meta-Alloys are a key component in Thargoid ships and technologies, such as the Thargoid Interceptor and Scout. The Thargoid Structure extracts resources from a planet and converts them into meta-alloys.
Meta-Alloys are capable of counteracting the corrosive effects of Thargoid Sensors and other Thargoid objects. They have been used to create new technologies, such as the Corrosion Resistant Cargo Rack and Meta Alloy Hull Reinforcement.
On November 29, 3304, Senior Engineer Henrik de Lacerda of Aegis Research announced a breakthrough in Meta-Alloy research that allowed extremely small quantities of Meta-Alloys to provide sufficient protection against Thargoid Sensor-related interference, and arranged for shipments of Meta-Alloys to be distributed to affected stations. As Thargoid Sensors ceased to cause technological damage to stations due to this development, the sale of Thargoid commodities in general was legalized, allowing them to be traded in public markets.
On July 4, 3305, reports emerged that harvests of Meta-Alloys were in steep decline, and many known Thargoid Barnacle sites had become exhausted. Professor Alba Tesreau of Aegis Research announced an initiative to locate alternative Thargoid Barnacle sites by collecting and analyzing exploration data provided by independent pilots at The Oracle in Delphi. On July 11, Tesreau revealed that the survey had turned up new sites in the Witch Head Nebula, and the Alliance, Empire, and Federation each launched concurrent resource-gathering campaigns in order to build infrastructure in the region. On July 25, as Ocellus Starports arrived in six systems in the Witch Head Nebula that had been slated for colonization as part of The Enclave initiative, they were immediately attacked by Thargoid forces that were ostensibly acting to defend their territory. Professor Tesreau called on independent pilots to defend the stations.
On July 31, Admiral Aden Tanner proclaimed victory, noting that humanity's colonial assets had been firmly established in the region thanks to independent pilots' tireless efforts to defeat the Thargoids. Professor Tesreau added that the Alliance, Empire, and Federation had officially declared the Witch Head Nebula to be a human enclave that they would share equally. She also requested the galactic community's assistance in repairing the nebula's starports so that they could begin harvesting the local barnacles.
Ghosts of the Coalsack Nebula
By November 9, 3306, the Thargoid Barnacles in the Witch Head Nebula had begun to exhibit signs of over-exploitation. With the possibility looming that meta-alloy sources in the region could be exhausted in the near future, the Alliance announced a joint expedition with several corporations, including Sirius Atmospherics, to secure fresh meta-alloy sources in the Coalsack Nebula. Independent pilots investigating the Adamastor, a ghost ship that had recently arrived in the Chukchan system after almost two centuries of absence, had traced its path and discovered an extensive Thargoid presence in the Coalsack, including new Thargoid Barnacles.
- Guardian Codex 1/28: Thargoid Log - Barnacle Seeding
- Reddit post detailing initial discovery of the Thargoid Barnacle (see Update 2)
- Guardian Codex 1/28 : Thargoid Log – Barnacle Seeding
- GalNet article concerning Meta-alloys, January 15, 3302
- Community Goal: Professor Ishmael Palin Issues Request for Meta-Alloys, GalNet News, 3302-01-21
- GalNet: Thargoid-Sensor Disruption Neutralised
- Frontier Forums: Removal of 'UA Bombing'
- GalNet: Meta-Alloys Reportedly Growing Scarce
- GalNet: Alternative Source of Meta-Alloys Identified
- GalNet: Thargoids Defend Meta-Alloy Sources
- GalNet: Enclave Established in Witch Head Nebula
- GalNet: 'Ghost Ship' Leads Alliance to New Resources