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From what I've read, there seems to be a fairly clear path towards getting an Atlas Pass if you take the path of the Atlas.

But I took the path of the Explorer.

Can I still get an Atlas pass?

If so, how can I get one? Is there a way to work towards getting one, or is it random?

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In order to obtain the Atlas Pass V1, you need to encounter a Space Anomaly. It will be extremely obvious when you've encountered one, as when you warp into a system with one in you'll see as you're exiting warp.

Inside an NPC will give a simple test for a milestone, then give you the blueprint for the Atlas Pass V1.

Once you've obtained that, you can start finding Atlas Pass V2 and V3. The fastest way to do this is to use a Bypass chip with one of the Orange beacons on a planet, and select 'Colonial Outpost'. Keep doing this until you get a waypoint for 'Manufacturing Building'. This type of building requires you to break down a door to enter. Solve the puzzle inside and you'll be awarded with a blueprint, which has a random chance of being an Atlas pass. The Atlas Pass V3 will allow you to enter V2 doors, so if you get the V3 before the V2 it's fine.

You do not get the Atlas Pass V1 from an Atlas Station, only Space Anomalys

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    I found an AtlasPass V2 recipe without possessing an AtlasPass V1. (I hadn't heard of Space Anomalies until reading this answer.) It allows me entrance to V1- (and V2-) locked doors but not to V1-locked containers. It also doesn't disappear from my inventory (not sure if that's a bug or not, seeing how cheap it is to make them). – dg99 Aug 16 '16 at 0:33
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As of right now the only clear way to get one is follow the Atlas path.

Makes you wonder why choose any other path.

Otherwise, the only other way is you'd have to stumble on a Atlas Station out in the wild but not sure what their spawn rates are and how the level of card is distributed.

Edit: See comment below or accepted answer for the correct answer.

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    This is incorrect. You will automatically encounter a "Space anomaly" once you have made enough hyperspace jumps. Regardless of being on the Atlas path or not (I'm not and I've had two appear) – LoganGoesPlaces Aug 16 '16 at 17:30

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