Over the course of the last year, Elite: Dangerous developer Frontier Developments have been teasing the playerbase with the existence of Thargoids, a race of highly developed aliens from outside the borders of known space.
The Thargoids, which were also in Frontier: First Encounters, are shrouded in mystery. According to the game's wiki, Thargoids are a technically extremely advanced all-female race of aliens that may or may not be from the same dimension as we are. While they were really aggressive towards humans in Frontier: First Encounters, their behavior in Elite: Dangerous is a little more mysterious.
Since the game's release, Frontier Developments have stated that the Thargoids will be added to the game in some form, and it seems like that'll happen sooner rather than later. Check out this video by DP Sayre, who seems to be the very first player to encounter these elusive aliens. This fact was confirmed by Frontier Developments on the official Elite: Dangerous Twitter account.
Alternatively, here's another encounter with the Thargoids by YouTuber and space aficionado Scott Manley:
As you can see in the encounter, Thargoid ships have the ability to drag you out of hyperspace (no other entity or piece of technology in the game is capable of doing this) and completely incapacitate your ship. After it's done this, the enormous (and strangely organic-looking) ship presumably scans your ship before it warps away, leaving a wake players can't use so chasing down the ship is pretty much impossible at this point. There's a megathread about this on the game's subreddit, if you want to join in on the conversation.
Here are some things you need to do in order to trigger the encounter, although there are still a few steps people haven't completely figured out. Before you do anything else, you'll need to visit Professor Palin at the Palin Research Center in the Maia system. Palin is one of the Engineers you can acquire by playing the Horizons update and is one of the leading experts on alien lifeforms in the game's canon. Once you're there you'll need to purchase a corrosion resistant cargo rack from the research center, which will allow you to ferry around hazardous materials like nuclear waste without damaging your own ship in the process. These cargo racks are made of Meta Alloys, which were found on the strange alien barnacles players found on a planet somewhere.
After you've done this, you'll have to navigate to a system that is between 130-150 lightyears from the Merope system you will discover several unidentified signal sources, which will show up as a Threat 4 Anomaly on your HUD.
Once you reach one of these signal sources, you will immediately be scanned by something, although you won't be able to find the origin of the scan. While you're at the location of the signal source, you will find an unknown artifact which you'll be able to store in your new cargo racks. This item can be sold at space stations for a very large amount of money, but the station you've sold it to will start to break down after a while, which will interrupt trading to and from the station you've sold it to. According to the current theories, you'll need at least one of these in your cargo hold if you want to trigger the encounter.
The next (and final) step is to simply warp from one system to the next until the encounter gets triggered. Players seem to have had the most success by staying in the same area as where you found the unknown artifact.
Have you encountered the Thargoids? What are your theories? Let us know in the comment section down below!