Hey all! This is my first post, hopefully not duplicating anyone else's suggestion.
I had a thought about a potential end-game path, since with sandbox-y games, a lot of people end up asking "but what's the point?". To that end, I was playing Offworld Trading Company, and the idea of having an NPC 'colony' to support seemed like it could fit in really well with Astroneer. The devs have already speculated on building space stations and fleshing out the inter-player trade network, and I wonder if it wouldn't be fun to have a series of modules and base-building options that were purely for an NPC colonist's request. It also fits pretty well in the lore of exploring new planets as part of a 'gold rush'! Bear in mind, my experience with the game as it currently is is not exhaustive, so this is very speculative.
So to break it down a bit:
Toward the late game, you have the option of building a 'colony seed' (maybe a 'terraformer' or something like, to stop the storms?), which begins the process.
You can drop it off in a central location similar to a drop pod, and it comes with a whole set of base building options to support a colony of npcs
Depending on what's available on that planet, and what colony you're setting up, the settlers will have different wants
Building what they want will allow you to trade for specialized (or very rare) goods, and the more you have set up for them, the better deal you get (4>1, then 3>1, then 2>1, for example)
So yeah, that's what I was thinking. I like the lore idea of actually building a proper settlement for NPCs once you've done the most baseline bootstrapping for yourself. It also can bring your actions back down from more complex things. I imagine if one of the main endgame things currently is the building of space stations and orbital technology, having something planetside to work on would provide good variety.
Still, maybe I'll change my mind about it after I've played some more. Just wanted to get this idea out of my head =]