Only recently discovered, these mysterious artefacts are believed to be probes, but of unknown origin. Their physical appearance makes them likely to be related to the unknown artefacts discovered in 3301. Such mystery only serves to make these objects more widely sought after by wealthy individuals and organisations alike, no matter that their unidentified status automatically prohibits them from being sold on any legal market.
— In-game Description
Thargoid Probes, formerly known as Unknown Probes, are devices of unknown purpose created by the Thargoids. They appear to point to Merope 5 C, the planet where "Barnacles" were first found. Scanning an Unknown Probe will cause it to emit an EMP wave and burst of noise.
Thargoid Probes spawn in Non-Human Signal Sources in the vicinity of ammonia worlds in the Pleiades Nebula region. Signal Sources with Threat Level 5-7 may randomly have a Thargoid Probe or Sensor. Additionally, there can be one or more Thargoid Interceptors, which will attack if they detect Thargoid objects within a pilot's cargo hold. If no Probes spawn after 20 minutes, high-wake out of the system and then return to the planet to seek out a new signal source.
As of 3305 CE, Thargoid Probes were found in:
- NHSS 5 in the Pleiades or HIP 17862
- Transports or in wrecked megaship cargo bays of attacked Science Vessels and Bulk Cargo Ships. Such as in Delphi.
On July 18, 3302 CMDR Rizal made use of the Advanced Discovery Scanner in the presence of an Unknown Probe after targeting it. The Unknown Probe responded by turning on its lights, charging and releasing an EMP shockwave, which in turn briefly knocked out CMDR Rizal's HUD (supposedly to grab his attention). This was accompanied by an audio burst; the Unknown Probe finally "spoke".
The forums were quick to respond, decoding the audio from the video and suggesting various experiments.A map has been drawn from the audio, showing a globe and possible coordinates. With the Unknown Probe pointing at Merope 5 C, many CMDRs are now on the hunt to find the next clue.
On August 17, 3302, the first free-floating Unknown Probe was discovered orbiting Pleiades Sector KC-U b3-1 8, a planet with an ammonia atmosphere, at an "Anomalous Signal" point of interest. This was quickly followed by additional Unknown Probe finds above other ammonia worlds in nearby systems. Finding the Probes above ammonia worlds is significant because it potentially ties the Probes to the Thargoids, who are believed to have originated on an ammonia world.
On August 20, 3302, the Unknown Probe transmission was fully decoded and revealed to contain planetary data such as radius, surface temperature, gravity and atmospheric composition. This transmission was directed at an unknown receiver on Merope 5C. In addition, the transmission included distance data that, when triangulated, was found to have been measured from the star system Col 70 Sector FY-N C21-3, which is within a group of permit-locked systems that players cannot currently access. It is believed Col 70 Sector FY-N C21-3 may be the origin point of all Unknown Probes, and contain the homeworld of their creators.
On September 26, 3303, Unknown Probes were officially reclassified as Thargoid Probes.