I nearly crashed with 10k ly worth of data on a world with "just" 1.6g… after a dozen landings on worlds with gravity <0.08g, I was too used to ultra-low gravity. And would have crashed would I have been in my frail and wimpy AspX, or if the gravity had been at 3g or more. So don't forget to check the gravity before landing!
I lost loads of exploration data in my first trips in the black, so here's some tips to avoid resorting to lithobraking:
– Check the gravity before landing (visible in the system map, when you select a planet).
– Know your ship:
– Usually, the bigger the planet, the deeper the gravity well. With experience, you can roughly estimate the size of the planet from it apparent size (how big it looks out the window) and the distance to your target (center of the planet or surface location). A 500 km icy body will always be very low gravity, and a 10 000 km metal-rich will always be pretty high Gs.
– Don't wait too much before slowing down. Beginning to slow higher gives more time to realize how quick your braking reduces your speed , and react accordingly.
– More pips in engines = more power = more braking
– If the ground is approaching way too quickly, try to quickly get your nose up and boosting, as this is the strongest brake you can use.
– If you're about to hit the ground, put 4 pips in shield to reduce the damage you'll take.
– If your ship bounces on the ground and your shield broke, don't try to land immediately. Landing without a shield usually results in some hull damage, and if your hull took a blunt you may prefer waiting for your shield to recharge.
Finally: know your ship. When I began exploring, I used a very long-range AspX (>70 ly jumps), with everything downsized so it was like flying a wimpy (<250m/s boost) eggshell (<300 hull, <70 shield). Very good for long-range traveling but I had to be cautious when landing. Flying now an explorer Dolphin, I have way less mass but a stronger shield and way stronger engines (>480m/s boost), making the landings less risky and way easier to abort in case I underestimate the gravity. And when I used my multipurpose Anaconda, fully engineered with military hull and strong shields with boosters, lithobraking was actually a valid method, as I could hit the ground at full speed without losing even a ring. But explorer builds are usually light, so more fragile.