Screenshot by GameSkinny

Starfield: How to Complete Planet Surveys and Scans

Scan and survey planets and moons in Starfield.

One of Starfield‘s regular scans might show you the basic info, but it will remain inconclusive unless you gather more data. A full planet survey will give you just that. Our guide discusses all the mechanics so you can complete planet surveys in various star systems.

Recommended Videos

How to Complete Planet Surveys and Scans in Starfield

To complete planet surveys, you need to do the following:

  • Fast travel to any planet and stay in orbit.
  • Open the map to show the planet view and hold the LB button. This is the regular scan, which shows info such as the atmosphere, gravity, terrain, resources, and potential traits.
  • Land on the surface and press the LB button to open your scanner.
  • You then have to locate flora, fauna, resources/minerals, and landmarks/traits. Press the A button when they’re highlighted to add a scan to your tally.
  • If the planet is part of a mission board objective, you can receive credits and XP as rewards.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Types of Scannable Objects and Creatures

These are the objects and creatures that you need to scan to complete Starfield planet surveys:

  • Flora — These are different types of plantlife. You need to scan multiple plant nodes to complete the tally.
  • Fauna — These are non-sentient animals, which can be tame or wild depending on their aggressiveness. You need to scan multiple animals of the same type to complete that particular tally.
  • Resources — These are the minerals that can be extracted from nodes. You only need to scan a type of mineral node once to obtain that tally.
  • Landmarks and Anomalies — These are strange, curious-looking structures found on the surface. They usually have a flag icon in the distance. You can learn more in our planet traits guide.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Exceptions to the Rule: Gas Giants and Asteroids

Once you’re done with a full survey of the planet, you’re given a survey data item. This can be exchanged for credits when you talk to Vladimir Sall aboard The Eye.

Still, there are a couple of exceptions to the rule: gas giants and asteroids. Because your ship won’t be able to land in those places, simply scanning while in orbit gives you the complete survey data. That means you can earn cash from Vladimir immediately. As such, I suggest looking for gas giants and asteroids, whenever possible, to receive extra money.

Screenshot by GameSkinny

Skills that Affect Planet Surveys and Scans

There are also various skills that affect Starfield planet surveys and scans:

  • Surveying — Adds a zoom level and increases the scan distance.
  • Scanning — Allows you to detect rarer inorganic materials on planet and moon surfaces.
  • Botany — Get rarer resources when you harvest different plants; gives you additional info via your scanner. You may also cultivate plant resources in your outposts.
  • Zoology — This has the same effect as the Botany skill, except it’s for animals.

I personally don’t recommend any of these skills. That’s because you can only receive skill points whenever you level up. As such, you’re better off allocating points to more important tech and social skills. I would prefer just choosing the above options as a last resort, such as when I need to unlock the next tier of perks.

That’s everything you need to know about how to complete planet surveys and scans in Starfield. For more tips and strategies, you can visit our guides hub.

GameSkinny is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Jason Rodriguez
Jason Rodriguez
Jason Rodriguez is a game reviewer and guides writer from the Philippines. With around 5,000 published articles, he's freelanced for numerous outlets, including GameSkinny, GameSpot, Polygon, IGN, PCGamesN, PC Invasion, and more.