Your ship's drill and probe are required to get resources, repair equipment and craft new items. Set them to "7" when scavenging for materials in order to preserve their integrity.
Iron is used for crafting, repairing your ship's hull, and fixing damaged ship modules. Always keep four units of iron in reserve for those uses.
Avoid jumps that will put you out of range of the next planet on the map in order to avoid backtracking from dead ends.
Always drill for materials on inhabited worlds. These worlds also will give you the chance to learn about alien technology and refill your oxygen. Previously translated alien keywords will automatically be understood again if encountered later. However, you can manually take a note of what they mean in case you die and lose that ability. By doing so, you will be able to make a more informed decision about a choice that requires alien translation. Note: Starting a new game may randomize the language, so words will be different between playthroughs.