Another point you might notice with the game in its current Alpha state is that it provides a lot of mechanisms to support effective teamwork.
If someone has researched a technology it shows as a greyed out item in your skill tree so you know that you can trade for it instead of having to research it yourself.
The store item provides the ability to set up pretty complex economic transactions without requiring both people to be online at the same time.
The default settings in the game explicitly balance so that no one person can learn everything in time to stop the asteroid: teamwork is required.
The Election, Laws, etc systems provide a further framework for cooperation.
I would strongly suggest checking out some of the servers you see listed and look for one either early in play that is willing to help a new player (common but not everywhere) or is well established so you can build yourself up through trade instead of having to fumble through early stages of learning.
if you want, Nesphit has put together a very good "Getting Started" guide. I forget the link but you can search for his name or just go to the SGL server where he has placed a sign in the middle of the central village workshop listing the address.