Buy the "Autopause" equipment
Kind of breaking the fourth wall here a bit, aren't we? Pausing the game is a meta-command (ie something that the in-game world doesn't understand). But by making it a purchasable item, it's now crossed the boundary between game-world and real-world. Which is a long-winded way of say, I don't think this should be a purchasable item. Although, to be fair, at 1cr it's hardly worth quibbling over, is it? Leave it as it is.
Well that was just a quirk-and-dirty job. But equipment items are handy because of the mode switch feature, which would let us have different pause criteria.
But I really like the concept though! I think this can be a really useful tool for players like me who generally run with the sound off, so don't get audible warnings when red alerts take place. Very handy for when I'm on my way to the sun to scoop some fuel, and I run into an angry mob of pirates courtesy of Space Crowds.
Someone on IRC called it the "ALT tab" thing (not him but hello, Spalthy876!) so yes, it has more than one uses. The idea of adding mini-games or occupations for when you are masslocked has been discussed several times here; I think this feature partially solves it by letting the player do something else outside of the game - one nice thing about Oolite is that is not too resource-hungry, so you can have other programs running in the background - thus letting us being "productive" while playing. Not the best solution but not a bad one either.
BTW, if someone wants to take over this OXZ, feel free. I have to many things on my todo list already (for instance, I'd like to return to the city lights feature).