Starfield - How to Survey Planets

explorer stands on planet looking out to a ringed world

explorer stands on planet looking out to a ringed world

Starfield features around a thousand planets to scan and visit and several dozen resources required for crafting and outpost building. You don't want to spend several hours looking for a rare resource on the same barren planets and moons. This is where planet scans in Starfield will help you find what you're looking for.

We will examine how to scan planets and what this teaches you about their resources. We'll also discuss how you can improve and upgrade your scanning capabilities and how resource rarity works in Starfield.

How to Scan in Starfield

There are two types of scans that you can perform in Starfield.

Planet Scanning

The first is the easier option, providing generic information about every planet. When hovering over a planet and picking a landing spot, you can use your spaceship's built-in scanner to survey the planet's surface and provide you with a resource map.

starfield planet scan for akila
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It lets you know about the resources available on the surface and their rarity. It also provides information about the atmosphere, magnetosphere, temperature, flora, fauna and even the water. You also get to learn about any unique traits that the planet has.

You can use this to check if a planet is worth dropping on for resources depending on the rarity (more on this later).

Manual Scanning

The manual scanner is used when you're on the surface of a planet and need to scan your surroundings. Starfield is a massive game of environments littered with materials, resources and enemies.

starfield manual scanner
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Bring up the scanner by pressing LB on the controller and F on the keyboard. You can then perform additional scans by hovering over a highlighted item and pressing A on the controller and E on the keyboard.

The manual scanner provides you with a lot of benefits and capabilities.

  • It shows you arrows on the ground to lead you towards your destinations and ensure you stay aware of your location.
  • It highlights all interactable items in the surroundings and helps you find easy-to-miss loot.
  • It lets you scan flora and fauna and find resources to work towards increasing your planet survey percentage.
  • You can discover and locate the local points of interest on the surface and fast-travel to already-found locations directly from the scanner screen.

How to 100% Survey Planets and Rewards

Naturally, there are actual rewards to putting effort into scanning and collecting information on new planets. Starfield is an exploration game that will reward you for performing a 100% Survey scan on any planet.

an explorer stands on a purple planet
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To get a 100% survey on any planet, you must locate all the points of interest using your manual scanner. You also need to go to every landing site on the planet and scan all the flora and fauna there multiple times. Once you've done a 100% scan of every plant, animal and resource on the planet, you will receive a survey slate for that planet.

The survey slate isn't just for show; you can sell these to traders like Vladimir Sall. It's a quick way to make credits, and planets with several species and biomes give you increased credit rewards.

You can track your planet survey progress on the planet overview map and the left side of your HUD while in manual scanning mode.

How to Upgrade Your Scans

There are a couple of skills that you should invest in to upgrade your ship's scanner and your manual scanner. They are as follows:

the explorer background
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The Explorer background is excellent if you want to survey all the planets in the Settled Systems and build a play style around that.

How Resource Rarity Works

We mentioned resource rarity earlier, so here's how it works. When you scan a planet, you might see a star pop up on top of the symbol for any resource.

This can vary from no stars to three stars. Each star refers to the rarity of that resource on the planet. So, if you're looking for a resource with a high star rating, we suggest you farm it elsewhere.

Scan Unavailable in Starfield

Sometimes, when trying to scan a planet, you might get this error that stops you from scanning a planet and seeing its resources. This is because even your ship's scanner has limitations and cannot reach every planet in the Settled Systems from the other side of the galaxy.

the moon titan is shown
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To fix this, you need to fast-travel your way to a location closer to the planet you're trying to scan and then try again.

That's all you need to know about how to scan planets in Starfield and get 100% survey slates on each planet. Also, learn how to unlock all powers and check out our new game plus guide.

As always, stick with us at the Starfield Portal for more Starfield.

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