Nav beacons mark the area at which all traffic jumping into the system will arrive, and by targeting and scanning each new arrival you’ll find out if anyone is wanted by the local authorities.
Any ships with a bounty will be noted as 'WANTED' in red letters on your target display, and all you need to do to claim the money is to be involved in the destruction of the ship.
This is mainly because Elite does a pretty naff job in-game about explaining much of what is going on in its massive universe.
While we’d recommend trying all the tutorial missions, those you need to make sure you focus on are those covering docking, launching, and travel, as well as those that teach you the basics of combat and flight.
If you were to think of a game series that successfully evoked the vastness of space then Elite – not No Man’s Sky – would probably sit at the top of many people’s list.