In order to help players reduce the number of planets (and systems) they see, along with potentially helping the servers, I suggest allowing us to destroy plants and even systems.
The rationale behind destroying planets would be to get rid of planets not worth colonizing for populations, planets only worth colonizing for resources. We’ve asked for planet mining ships, and while I’d think that would still be cool to have, the ability to destroy a planet and get a few asteroid fields of the mined and unmined resources found on that planet would be helpful. At maximum, 4 asteroid fields (beron, farsu, etc.) would spawn for each planet, and thankfully asteroid fields already exist in-game. For the servers, I believe being able to delete array items with at least 8 items (temperature, land mass, population, etc.) would help reduce the storage requirements necessary.
So for instance, with this planet below, we’d all agree that 10km is too small to colonize unless you want the resources. There is no olzine on this planet, and as a gas, that would evaporate, but if you destroyed this planet to get potentially 25% in resources back (this number can be modified, just an example), you’d get about 57,000 beron, 73,000 farsu, and so on. Not a great way to get resources by any means, but it is a method, and time-wise it sure beats colonizing this planet, wasting a planet slot, and then waiting to mine out all surface deposits.
While the base level of planet-destroyers would simply leave asteroid fields you have to collect with other ships, an upgraded version could also collect the resources.
Finally, for planet-destroyers (need a better name, lol), they could be used offensively to destroy enemy planets, but they should have a long countdown, no defenses, and be unable to be put in fleets. So if someone parks their planet-destroyer on your planet, a scout could zip in and destroy the planet-destroyer before a 24 hour count-down finishes.
Regarding destroying systems, there are some absolutely trash systems. This is just the way it works out because of system generation, but I’d like to be able to clean up my area of these systems I’m never going to colonize. Destroying systems can also be a way to draw a line around your empire (in lieu of displaying graphical territory lines). Some players might want to draw a 3 light-year line around their empire as a kind of no-man’s-land. Now systems can either be destroyed through firing a missile or ship into a star (I play Syntis, so no one dies in my mind, lol), and return no resources, or through a mechanism of a ship syphoning off the olzine in the star until it reaches supernova stage and explodes. This entire process should also take a long time, say a week (time to syphon, and time to get your ship out of their if RL gets in the way). If an auto-syphon star mechanic can be implemented (similar to auto-collect debris), perhaps this could be reduced slightly.
In order to protect stars, and acknowledging this whole idea of wiping out systems being a bit farther down the pipeline, we will need defense structures for stars. The bonus of developing these structures is that they could also be tweaked for use around planets, as an added layer when planetary assault gets a rework.
TLDR; Players can destroy planets and systems for resources, and we act as the Devs server cleaners by destroying unwanted information.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and happy playing!