In No Man’s Sky, Sodium can save your life. It’s used to recharge the standard Hazard Protection gauge that protects you from storms and the elements. It also powers your starship shields and more esoteric defensive systems. Once you’re much farther into the game, it can also charge certain Portal glyphs. Yet it’s comparatively hard to find Sodium versus more common materials — such as Carbon and Ferrite Dust. Even so, there are a number of reliable tips to help you collect and farm Sodium anywhere in the universe.
So, how do you find Sodium in No Man’s Sky? Let’s break it down into multiple methods according to where you are in your current game.
How to Collect Sodium Early on
Sodium Rich Plants. That’s the long and short of it when you’re first starting the game. Collecting at least a little Sodium is easy once you repair your Exosuit Scanner, which happens in the very earliest phases of NMS. So long as you follow the main story quest. Once you repaired this device, just press C on your keyboard or L3 (i.e. click in the left stick) on any controller. This will send out a pulse that rapidly scans the environment around you — marking certain points of interest with objective icons.
Sodium plants in the environment will appear on your HUD as yellow “Na” markers. You can run to any of these Sodium Rich Plants without specialized gear and immediately harvest each of the available raw units of Sodium contained within. They will go straight into your Exosuit inventory.
The resource also occasionally appears in several other places you might find on any given planet, including the planet you begin your journey on. For instance, you may find several units of Sodium laying around inside of various containers and storage boxes that you run across while scavenging outposts and abandoned shelters. You should typically always open these boxes as you pass.
There are also some plants and minerals that drop Sodium. You just need to break them down with your trusty Mining Laser (or punch them with a melee strike if you’re out of energy and resources). You will need your suit’s Analysis Visor — another tool constructed in the earliest moments of the game — in order to identify which of these outcroppings contain Sodium.
Once you bring up the Analysis Visor, you can click the left mouse button or the right trigger to scan unidentified plants and minerals. This tells you which materials each object drops. However, since the distribution of plant and mineral types is randomized, you might not find any Sodium-based life or Sodium-rich rocks in your starting location.
How to Save Sodium as You Play
We should note that Sodium is actually the least efficient way to recharge your Hazard Protection and/or Deflector Shield. You’re far better off using Sodium Nitrate instead — even if you convert Sodium into this more advanced form via refining. It costs two Sodium to create one Sodium Nitrate, but Sodium Nitrate is more than twice as effective at recharging defensive devices.
As such, you can “save” Sodium by simply turning it into Sodium Nitrate. Assuming all you have in mind is recharging various types of shields.
This is very likely to be the case, too, since basic Sodium isn’t needed to craft widely used consumables, like Oxygen. In fact, most crafting recipes that require Sodium at all are cosmetic furniture. Compare this to Sodium Nitrate, which is used in much more gameplay-relevant formulas, and there’s really little reason to keep standard Sodium around at all. Players are very nearly always better off just refining it to save inventory space and improve efficiency.
But even Sodium Nitrate is superseded by Ion Batteries when it comes to refilling Hazard Protection. These consumable devices can be crafted almost immediately after starting the game. They also recharge defensive modules to 100 percent no matter what. The only reasons to use Sodium or Sodium Nitrate instead are when recharging Hazard Protection either in the extreme early game (just before getting the Ion Battery blueprint) or if you want to top off your Hazard Protection while the gauge is still very high.
Ion Batteries cost five Ferrite Dust and 10 Cobalt to craft. Which is a pittance in No Man’s Sky. Cobalt can be a bit irritating to find in the wild but appears in basically every underground cave in the game. Just check the stalagmites and stalactites. You can also find Cobalt in much greater quantities in certain resource deposits (the sort you mine with the Terrain Manipulator).
For your starship, the Starshield Battery replaces the Ion Battery. You can craft as many of these as you like after buying the blueprint for 250 Nanite Clusters at the Synthesis Laboratory on the Space Anomaly. Starshield Batteries simply require 50 Tritium and 20 Gold — both of which can be mined from asteroids.
Last but not least, both your Deflector Shield and standard Hazard Protection gauges refill automatically over time. Though starship shields are very slow to do so.
Hazard Protection also only regenerates when you’re sheltered. The includes standing inside actual structures, yes, but also swimming underwater, spelunking into caves, resting in your starship, and hiding inside tunnels dug with your Terrain Manipulator. On Derelict Freighters, you can also recharge your Hazard Protection by standing next to portable heaters.
This means that only special defensive modules — the sort that protect against specific threats like Radiation or Heat — ever technically need to be recharged manually. These don’t refill automatically and need either Sodium, Sodium Nitrate, or an Ion Battery to refill.
How to Get Sodium in the Midgame
Sodium crafting is, sadly, a lot less efficient than its counterpart — Oxygen refining — in No Man’s Sky. You really only have one option for making the stuff. That is to say: Marrow Bulbs.
This is a type of farmable vegetation initially harvested from Cave Marrow. As the name suggests, this type of plant can only be found in caves, but is available to acquire on just about any planet as a result. Just head on down into the dirt and you should find some.
You can convert one Marrow Bulb into two units of Sodium using any Refiner (Portable, Personal, Medium, or Large). You can also combine one Marrow Bulb and one carbon for two Sodium. This poor exchange rate makes it a very slow and inefficient, however, heavily limiting the usefulness of Sodium refining.
Instead, a much better way to acquire Sodium in large quantities during the midgame is looking for Sodium Nitride. These are enormous, yellow crystals of Sodium Nitrate which grow out of the ground. They’re marked with yellow diamonds after scanning — similar to Sodium plants — but also sport a small “plus” sign on the icon. The rub is that you need an Advanced Mining Laser module to crack open Sodium Nitride crystals.
You can also find Sodium in large resource deposits. Just like Copper, Cadmium, and various other metals. These can be scooped up en masse using your Terrain Manipulator or an Autonomous Mining Unit.
How to Get Sodium in the Late Game
Like many basic resources, Sodium can be purchased at most Galactic Trade Terminals on space stations or at trade outposts. During the No Man’s Sky late game, when money is no object, you’re often better off simply buying as much as you need. Wealthy players can easily clean out the entire terminal’s stock in one gulp — before moving on to the next location and repeating the process all over again. This is easily the fastest way to farm Sodium in NMS.
Another efficient option is to simply use a Mineral Extractor. Though this requires a certain level of initial setup.
You need to first install a Survey Device (purchased from Iteration: Eos) onto one of the Multi-Tools in your collection. This allows you to search for “Mining Hotspots” using your Analysis Visor. Then just bring up the Analysis Visor, switch it to survey mode, and find a Sodium hotspot. Once you find one, you can build a Mineral Extractor at its location (after buying the blueprint for 10 Salvaged Data at the Construction Research Station on the Space Anomaly).
You also need to power the Mineral Extractor and build a Supply Depot to store the Sodium it extracts. You can also purchase the blueprint for Supply Depots at the Construction Research Station.
When this is all in place, the Mineral Extractor will automatically harvest Sodium (or any other resource you find a hotspot for, for that matter). What’s great about this is that it continues to function even when you’re not present. In fact, Mineral Extractors continue to pump up resources even when you’re not logged into No Man’s Sky. This makes them extremely efficient since you can continue to mine when you’re asleep or stepping away for a bit while waiting for other real-time elements to play out. Like the various phases of the Starbirth mission or a particularly long Fleet Expedition.
Finding Sodium on Derelict Freighters
Last on our list, Derelict Freighters are dangerous and basically semi-random dungeons floating in space. They’re full of loot and a special currency called Tainted Metal. Both of which can help make up for the exorbitant cost of purchasing Derelict Freighter coordinates. Some of the loot inside these vessels comes in the form of dozens of floating canisters, about half of which contain Sodium.
These canisters are technically meant as a way to refill your Hazard Protection while you explore. However, since Ion Batteries are vastly more efficient, and there are portable heaters to activate as “safe zones” throughout each hulk, it’s better to simply use those restorative items and keep the Sodium for yourself.
This is another way to “semi-passively” farm Sodium, as you pick it up while hunting for much more valuable materials to trade. This makes Derelict Freighters one of the most efficient Sodium farming methods in the game. They allow you to multitask and make a lot of money doing it.
And those are the best methods at the moment! Things are always changing in this game, though, so be ready for new ways to farm Sodium to pop up in the future. Good luck in the meantime. Hopefully you won’t get too salty while hunting for Sodium in No Man’s Sky!