So over the months I’ve occasionally been talking to people here and there about the ending of the story because some aspects of it don’t seem to make sense. Like the countdown…it rather abruptly goes from 16 to 0 and then it ends and the simulation hasn’t ended and the Atlas isn’t dead…even though the countdown was expressly to the end of the life of the Atlas and the Atlas creates and controls the simulation…so we’re left with the question of what the hell just actually happened.
What I mostly heard was that the countdown is obviously not in real time so the countdown is to the actual death of the Atlas but minutes to it mean something entirely different from minutes to us so who knows long it’s actually going to be. But then why did it end and the Atlas didn’t die? To which I was sometimes told that well it didn’t actually end, you just got real close to the time running out but it didn’t and since we don’t know how long that’s going to take it could be eons for all we know. Sure…but there’s a problem with that too…we vaguely know about how long a minute of its countdown is…15 warps is 15 minutes of its countdown so then if the story ends and assuming there’s 1 minute left how can you endlessly warp around and then the time never runs out?
Well…I think I’ve finally been able to reconcile what actually happened…why the Atlas wants to reset the simulation over and over even though it doesn’t buy it time and what the countdown actually is. The Atlas isn’t dying, at least not imminently, and the countdown is unrelated to its actual death…the Atlas is just obsessed with its own mortality. It knows that it will eventually die and it knows what will kill it so it wants to endlessly run simulations of its own death in futile attempts to find a solution even though it can’t. The countdown and the descriptions of the black hole tearing it apart…they aren’t happening…it’s a simulation on a loop. That’s why the Atlas is in so much emotional pain and why everything seems so urgent…it’s simulating the end but it’s not the end and won’t be the end anytime soon. The Atlas is coming to terms with its own mortality and the fact that nothing, not even it will last forever.
I feel kind of stupid now for not having figured this out sooner…but the answers of what actually happened don’t come until you use remembrance on a whole lot of terminals in stations, which can be hard to find…only then do you clearly get the picture of what the countdown really was and what happened at the end of the countdown and that it actually finished and it wasn’t to the real death of the atlas or actually relevant in any way to the actual death of the Atlas when while remembering the 16/16 countdown at the end it says: “At the end of all things, it will no longer be alone. //END” https://nomanssky.gamepedia.com/Rogue_Data
So that’s it…that’s all it was…a simulation of the Atlas trying to understand or find a way to prevent its death.