I believe I'm encountering a variation of this.
I had to start over after the "Not enough storage for function" error made the game unplayable.
I avoided lifeforms altogether and even the useless artifacts.
I'm ONLY carrying artifacts that enhance my power. Currently I'm carrying the Rod Device, Shimmering Ball, Tesseract, Dodecahedron and Red Cylinder.
I picked up my first Black Egg, and now, at every planet I land on, the game freezes at "activating terrain vehicle".
I reverted to a saved game and jettisoned a couple of the other artifacts that were not essential, but same freeze.
I reverted to a saved game and sold the Black Egg at Starport, figuring I'll buy it back later. But, it's still freezing at "activating terrain vehicle". Sigh.
I'm going to revert to a save before I acquired the Black Egg (and several other artifacts, unfortunately) and see if I can play through, avoiding getting a Black Egg until I need it.
I think it is a bit more unstable in this DOSBox version.
I've encountered unknown crashes that make me think they were related to this. As someone who played the game religiously 30 years ago and never encountered such a problem, I too think it must be a DOS Box issue. Anyone know enough about DOS Box to know what to tweak?