How to find a desert world in No Man’s Sky

Look for the Cactus Flesh.


Screenshot by Gamepur

Desert planets are among the most barren in all of No Man’s Sky. As a result, you’ll find yourself coming across them quite often early on in a playthrough. Once you’re in the middle of your journey and you need to find one, however, they seem to all disappear. That’s why in this guide, we’re going to cover how to find a desert planet or moon in No Man’s Sky.

What are desert worlds?

Screenshot by Gamepur

Desert worlds are actually a part of the barren world biome. These worlds are characterized by having rocky surfaces with very little on them. While they may appear as sandy wastelands, they’ll always have some form of flora and fauna knocking about for you to discover. Since desert worlds aren’t a main biome, they’re slightly rarer than the general barren worlds umbrella.

How to find desert worlds

Screenshot by Gamepur

The only way to find a desert world from space is to scan it and look for one thing in particular: Cactus Flesh. This stuff only appears on desert worlds, so if you scan a planet or moon and see this in the list of flora down there, you know you’ve stumbled upon a desert world. You can see all of this data from space if you scan a world and look at its characteristics.

However, you can also find out if there are any desert worlds in a system by checking the Discoveries menu. If someone else has discovered the system, there’s a good chance that the planets will have been recorded too. If they have, you can quickly check for any desert worlds. If not, you’ll have to scan them yourself or land on them to find out.

Why should you find desert worlds?

Screenshot by Gamepur

There are loads of reasons to look for desert worlds. For one thing, they’re more likely to have giant worms jumping about on the surface. Perfect for any No Man’s Sky Dune cosplayer. These worlds have also been the subject of milestones in Expeditions in the past, so there’s a good chance that they’ll come up again. The most common reason for needing to locate a desert world is due to a mission, though. Some NPCs task you with making discoveries or taking a photo on these worlds. If you know what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to complete these missions much faster than you would if you were blindly searching the galaxy for something vaguely dusty.