platinumspore improves the game about 5000 percent. (obviously that's an opinion, your mileage may vary)
you can completely ignore the pirate raids anyway, i think even without the mod the worst that pirates do is steal a little spice from the planet.. and they will complain when you return to the planet that you didn't help them.
with the mod you can put an uber turret that patrols the planet on each colony, and a couple turrets on the cities mean you never need to worry about pirates, they'll be dead before you get back most of the time anyway.. and even if you are at war and they attack odds are they will be destroyed too if you have the uber turret.
make sure you get at least version 1.6.1 of platinumspore tho.. previous ones had too many ships on enemy planets it was a bit chaotic. (still fun, but chaotic)
here is the link if you need it. http://www.sporemodding.com/index.php?topic=11.0
and you need to either have galactic adventures or not have spore patch above 1.03 (aka patch 3) oddly (with the retail version) you can install the mech parts from the dr. pepper / patch 6 then uninstall the game, but not the dr. pepper patch and reinstall spore and patch 3 to still have the mech parts, and use the mods. the steam version doesn't seem to support patch 6 at all. --- i tried being serious once, in 1989.. didn't particularly care for it.. so don't expect it to happen again.