Screenshot by GameSkinny

Starfield: How to Discover Planet Traits

Locate landmarks and unlock planet traits in Starfield.

By default, planet traits in Starfield are only shown once you’ve discovered strange landmarks on the surface. But, there’s a way to speed things up, too. Our guide discusses how to discover planet traits to help you see more information on a planet of interest.

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How to Discover Planet Traits in Starfield

You can discover Starfield planet traits by scanning landmarks and anomalies. Here’s a quick summary:

  • This mechanic is part of the planet scan and survey objective. You can learn more in our how to complete planet surveys guide.
  • Most planets and moons have at least one trait, but these are completely unknown at the start of the game. Instead, you’ll only see them once you visit a landmark on that planet.
  • You’ll know how many traits you’re looking for once you complete a planet scan in space.

How to Find Landmarks and Anomalies

To find landmarks and anomalies in Starfield, you’ll need to open your scanner by pressing the LB or F button. When you register the unknown area, it’ll tell you what type of location it is. The most common locations that reveal traits are:

  • Life Signs
  • Natural
  • Anomaly

You should see these in the distance, so just make your way to those spots. On a planet or moon, the same trait location will use the same icon no matter where you are. If you’ve already discovered a trait associated with the branching, tree like Life Signs icon, then heading there won’t result in you discovering something new.

Upon arriving, you’re likely to see a curious-looking object or structure. Examples include:

  • Rocks that are floating in mid-air
  • Towers that seem like they were built by an ancient civilization
  • Giant roots that cover patches of the ground
  • Bright red cocoon-shaped protrusions

Of course, there are many more. Simply press the A button on your controller or the E button while highlighting those objects, and you should add that to your tally. Some traits require multiple scans to complete, as noted in the initial information that pops up on the right side of your screen. In doing so, you’ll also unlock a trait for that planet. Coming across the same location won’t require you to rescan items, but will reward you XP for finding the spot.

Screenshot by GameSkinny

How to Use the Astrophysics Skill

One alternative for those who don’t want to roam around aimlessly is the Astrophysics skill. I personally suggest grabbing this later on once you have more points to spare, since it’s a tier 3 Science skill.

Once unlocked, you can continue to level it up by scanning additional planets and moons. At higher ranks, you’ll be able to scan planets and moons via the menu. There’s also a chance that the scan will reveal a planet trait, which means you won’t need to explore the entirety of a region. I definitely like this perk since it saves a lot of time.

Screenshot by GameSkinny

Examples of Planet Traits

I’ve also included a few examples of planet traits that I’ve discovered while exploring the galaxy. As far as I can tell, these don’t have discernible effects in the game world. They simply exist as (a) part of the planet survey tally, and (b) as requirements for certain mission board objectives.

  • Gravitational Anomaly
  • Ecological Consortium
  • Charred Ecosystem
  • Crystalline Crust
  • Coralline Landmass
  • Bolide Bombardment
  • Solar Storm Seasons
  • Slushy Subsurface Seas
  • Global Glacial Recession

Planetary Trait Missions

Many Constellation quests taken from the kiosk ask you to find a planet containing a certain type of trait. For example, find a Bolide Bombardment in Alpha Tirna. Other similarly worded missions are also aimed at discovering traits within a system. Scanning the trait so it’s registered autocompletes the task and rewards you the experience and money. If you’re heading to a system that has a quest like this in it, it’s worth taking the time to find the various traits.

I typically scan look to see if any of the nearby planets or moons have a large number of traits to find. My goal is one that has three traits, as that gives me the greatest chance of locating my objective on that planet. If it’s not there, I move on to the next, and repeat until quest complete.

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


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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.
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Ashley, otherwise known as Glitchiee, is an avid gamer of RPGs, TTRPGS, farming sims, and survival crafting games. Playing since she can remember, she started on the SNES, GameBoy Color, and collection 1st gen Pokemon cards. Using her passion for gaming, she's written about games for a combined total of 2 years.