Quantum is one of the basic elements of Outer Wilds you need to understand to fully explore its very strange solar system. Quantum objects have very different properties than basically anything else in the universe, and it took me awhile to really “get” how it all works — Quantum objects are like Schrodinger’s Cat. They can be at any number of locations and states when not observed. Only when a Quantum object is observed does it take a solid state and remain that way… for as long as it is observed, at least.
Confused? This all leads to the Quantum Moon. One of the hardest-to-reach locations in Outer Wilds, the Quantum Moon is an entire planetoid made of Quantum material, able to exist in all locations across the galaxy at the same time until it is observed. To make the Quantum Moon appear, and to actually land on it, you need to understand how Quantum really works in the game. And we’ve got a lengthy explanation for what is essentially a pretty simple concept.
If you’re really confused by all this, I recommend travelling to the Quantum Tower in Giant’s Deep. The tower is an optional puzzle location that will really solidify your understand of Quantum — you just have to fly to one of the poles from above to avoid the giant swirling tornado.
How To Find The Quantum Moon
The Quantum Moon is an entire hidden moon that follows this game’s version of quantum mechanics. In Outer Wilds shards of the Quantum Moon are both everywhere and nowhere — the Quantum Moon can appear and orbit over any of the five main planets. The Quantum Moon only “appears” when observed. When not observed, it can be anywhere.
- How To Find The Quantum Moon: The Quantum Moon can appear over any planet. When you look away, then look back, it can appear in any location.
- Turn to face a planet (or multiple planets) and it will randomly exist over one of them.
- The Quantum Moon can appear over: Timber Hearth, Hourglass Twins, Giant’s Deep, Brittle Hollow, and Dark Bramble.
- Select a planet, then look away (into the far distance where no planets can be seen) and look at the planet. Continue to do so, and the Quantum Moon will eventually appear.
You can also find a Quantum Moon Locator Device on Ember Twin. There’s a cave with five symbols showing the five planets. When observed, this will show you where the Quantum Moon is located, but if you stop observing the Moon’s location when taking off, it will appear somewhere else.
- How To Land On The Quantum Moon: Once you find the Quantum Moon, you’ll also want to land on it. When attempting to land on the Quantum Moon, you’ll pass through thick fog, blocking your view and causing the moon to seemingly disappear.
- Launch your Scout Drone and take a picture of the Quantum Moon’s location.
- Now keep the picture up on your ship console so you’re still observing it. Fly through the clouds and you can land.
There’s no real reason to land on the Quantum Moon — unless you want to find the secret sixth Quantum Moon location. Finding it is very tricky, so here’s what you need to do.
- How To Find The Sixth Secret Quantum Moon Location: After landing on the Quantum Moon, go to the Shrine located on the North Pole.
- Only the North Pole structure will work. Travel to the Giant’s Deep / Dark Bramble Quantum Moon to reach the northern hemisphere, then go to the Timber Hearth Quantum Moon to finally access the North Pole Shrine.
How To Use The Quantum Moon Shrines: The Quantum Moon is covered in strange structures. They can be used to change the location of the Quantum Moon. The Shrines, like Quantum objects, will appear / disappear when unobserved.
- Enter a structure, then close the door and turn off the lights. Now that you’re sealed inside, turn off your flashlight. You’ll be in pitch black. Whenever you turn on your flashlight, you’ll “observe” the Moon’s location by watching the locator device.
- Flip on / off the flashlight until you reach the desired location. The mystery sixth location is only available through the North Pole structure.
Reaching the mysterious sixth location, you’ll find something incredible — a living ancient alien! You can ask this living alien a series of questions about… well, anything! By using the tablets in the area, you can have a detailed conversation, uncovering a vast amount of lore and learning more about the strange aliens you’ve only read about so far.
The secret sixth location is one of the best discoveries in Outer Wilds, and I highly recommend you seek it out. This is just for fun (or 100% completion) but it is absolutely worth it if you’re enjoying Outer Wilds.