Explore a dangerous planet that's different every time and try to survive!
The Galactic Union's job for you is clear: research the alien wildlife -- for science! However, in this case, researching may include lasers, explosions, hungry aliens, space sushi, and other similarly delicious-or-terrifying hazards. In-between missions, use scrap metal you've collected to upgrade your stats.
Whether you survive or die, you'll come away better than you started!