There are five main types of resource that you can gather from the world of No Man's Sky, each with a few sub-types. These sub-types represent elements - some fictional - in No Man’s Sky’s periodic table. For certain tasks only a particular elemental type is required - charging your mining beam can be done with any isotope, for instance - but other tasks require a particular element. Here's a breakdown of those elements, and the different kinds of items you can craft using them.
If you're looking to collect the below, read our guide to gathering No Man's Sky's resources quickly.
Oxides include iron, zinc, titanium, sulfur and aronium. They are indicated by a yellow slab and are used in crafting and ship repair. They can be found in rock formations and certain plants, while killing Sentinels will net you titanium.
Isotopes include plutonium, carbon and thamium9. They are indicated by a red lightning bolt and are used to charge your exosuit, multi-tool and ship’s engines. Plutonium is common in crystal formations on many planets, asteroids are the most consistent source of thamium9, and carbon can be found in animal and plant life.
Silicates include platinum, heridium, silicon and chrysonite. They are indicated by a blue flask and are mainly used in crafting and repairs. They can be found in slab-like mineral deposits, plants and crystal formations.
Neutral elements include gold, emeril, copper, nickel, iridium and aluminium. They are indicated by a green slab. They are rarer than the first three resource types and often sell for a good price, but they are also used in some advanced crafting. They can often be found in slab-like mineral deposits, and focusing on mining these is a good source of income.
Precious elements include calium, murrine, omegon and radnox. They are indicated by a purple diamond. Occasionally, animals you’ve befriended will gift these to you, and deposits of certain precious elements can be found on extreme planets (some don’t show up on your scanner). Beware; mining these will attract Sentinels quickly.
Crafted and found products
The below are more complex goods, “secondary” crafted products where the first category are “primary” raw materials. These are never harvested direct from the planet, but can occasionally be found in loot boxes near outposts or other settlements. Otherwise, they are crafted.
Alloys are marked gold in your inventory and include lemmium, terumin, herox, magmox, crolium and grantine. You can craft alloys from neutral elements with the aid of an alloy blueprint (a recipe, in essence). Some alloys are used in crafting, while others are best sold.
Technology components are marked gold in your inventory and include carite sheets, antimatter and many others. They are used in crafting, and can themselves be crafted, bought or found in resource caches.
Energy sources are marked red in your inventory and include shielding shards and plates, power gels and canisters, unstable plasma and, crucially, warp cells (see the note below for more about these). They are used in crafting or to charge technology on your ship, tool and exosuit, and can be crafted, bought, or found in supply caches.
Trade commodities are marked green in your inventory. They serve no purpose other than in trade, so hang on to them until you can sell them for a good price (see our tips on playing the market, below). Farming four of the more expensive trade commodities is one of the best money-making strategies in the game, as we explain below, but you’ll need to stumble upon the correct planet first.
Devices include bypass chips and Atlas passes. They grant access to otherwise restricted areas and functions: bypass chips are used to hack various electronics, while Atlas passes come in three levels and are used to open certain locked boxes and doors. Read our guide to finding the Atlas Pass and how to make warp cells.
You should also learn how to efficiently gather resources, and learn about No Man's Sky's resources generally. You'll also probably want to increase your ship and exosuit inventory slots. Or hit up our No Man's Sky guide hub for everything.
Disclosure: Our Alec did some writing for No Man's Sky, and so doesn't write about it for us anymore.