In No Man’s Sky, Deuterium is a fairly unique resource — it exists both as a crafting material and something that you interact with in the world (in the form of a Deuterium Rich Plant). Because of this, it has three major functions: boosting your jetpacks, crafting, and portals, none of which are the most universally useful. Yet the effects can add up over time! You just need to know where to find it or how to craft it.
This is exactly what this guide is here to handle for you. Let’s take a broad look at Deuterium in NMS.
Deuterium Rich Plants in No Man’s Sky
Most players will encounter a Deuterium Rich Plant before any actual Deuterium during their travels, so we might as well start there.
Basically, despite the name and color, these plants have little or nothing to do with their crafting counterpart. They can simply be found as blue flowers scattered throughout NMS. Deuterium Rich Plants fill the aforementioned function of boosting your jetpack, allowing you to travel much greater distances for a very short time. In that sense, they’re a godsend for anyone traveling on foot, especially if you combine them with the “jetpack melee combo.”
Said combo is a semi-secret maneuver never actually described in-game. It’s more of a bug, really, but developer Hello Games left it in NMS by popular demand; now it’s a go-to community tip for new players. All you need to do is press the melee attack button, then quickly follow up by holding forward while igniting your jetpacks (i.e. jumping). This will launch your character forward much faster and farther than usual, slingshotting you across the landscape.
Combine this with a Deuterium Rich Plant and the effect is more like launching you out of a cannon. While it doesn’t last long, it’s absolutely the fastest way to travel over landscapes without the use of an Exocraft. Just make sure you know where to find a Deuterium Rich Plant! Any nearby will appear when using your Scanner as a blue icon with a white leaf.
Be careful, though, as moving faster and farther also means you’re at greater risk of fall damage. That’s not too punishing on normal difficulty. However, on the Survival setting, you can easily crush yourself in one short, sharp drop.
The flowers function almost exactly the same as Sodium Rich Plants and Oxygen Rich Plants. Except instead of orange (which indicates Sodium) or red (denoting Oxygen), Deuterium flowers bloom blue. You still pick them manually by approaching and holding the “interact” button, which will cause the jetpack to overcharge. Though it won’t harvest any Deuterium — not like the red and orange flowers provide Sodium or Oxygen.
No. Deuterium needs to be crafted.
How to Craft Deuterium in No Man’s Sky
This part is slightly less obvious, though it’s not actually that difficult. You just need a Medium Refiner or a Large Refiner. Either can be built inside a base once you set one up and progress through the Base Computer mission series (which award relevant blueprints as you complete the objectives). Sorry, but the portable refiners won’t work.
The reason for this is that Deuterium needs to combine two other resources: Di-hydrogen and Tritium, both of which are thankfully extremely common in NMS. Di-hydrogen is largely found in the form of blue, jagged crystals on planetary surfaces. You should be familiar with it by now if you’re even looking for Deuterium in the first place, since you need the material for launch fuel and repairing your ship at the start of the game.
Tritium, on the other hand, can be acquired after you fix your starship. It’s most easily found in asteroids, which exist pretty much throughout the entirety of space. The reason for this is that you need Tritium as a different sort of fuel source: the one that powers your Pulse Engine. Without it, you won’t get far in the game.
Just one unit of Di-hydrogen and one unit of Tritium will produce a single unit of Deuterium. In other words, it’s a two-to-one exchange if combined inside a Medium or Large Refiner (minus whatever power you use to fuel said refiner in the first place).
Even better: the Endurance Update now lets No Man’s Sky players combine the materials together for free. You just need to build a Refiner Room on your freighter. This counts as a Large Refiner that functions without the need for fuel. Since it’s out in space, too, it’s now even faster and easier to get Deuterium in No Man’s Sky. That’s because Tritium becomes Di-hydrogen when refined solo. Literally all you need is Tritium to create Deuterium, because the one material can create the other, both of which combine into the third.
That’s really all there is to it at the moment! Most players will only need 295 units of Deuterium in a playthrough at most. That’s because you need 95 units for Neutron Shielding (an Exocraft upgrade that blocks radiation damage) and 200 units for a Pulse Spitter (a sci-fi assault rifle mod for your Multi-Tool collection). Technically, Deuterium is also used for the flamethrower “Incinerator” weapon, but this mod cannot be acquired by normal means at the moment.
Ignoring the Incinerator, the Pulse Spitter is the real prize, to be honest. It’s a fantastic, accurate, and fairly powerful weapon. We highly recommend it for use on Derelict Freighters, where it can clear monsters and even security turrets with relative ease.
Last but not least (though potentially least common), you can use Deuterium as an “earth element” when powering portals. This is necessary to charge the glyphs that act as a portal’s address (and allow you to use the things at all). However, Deuterium is just one of several possible earth elements, so it’s far from mandatory.
And that’s that for Deuterium in No Man’s Sky! Best of luck making some for yourself or making use of Deuterium Rich Plants. It shouldn’t be too hard once you know what to do!