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All ships are equipped with scanners. You start with short-range scanners until you decide to upgrade to one of the four other types. You can only have one type of scanner at a time. Scanners are purchased in the hardware area of Star Base Shipyards. When buying a new ship, your scanners are transferred to the new ship. A scan can be performed by pressing Alt-S. Results are given as tons of unidentified compounds. This can indicate the presence of other ships, defenses, colonies, aliens, and artifacts in the area. Scanners do not detect defenses or colonies on a greenhouse type planet with an Ion Tower. Here are descriptions of the 5 scanner types and how they are used:

  • Short Range Scanners can be used to scan your immediate vicinity. They can be helpful when you first land on a planet surface if you would like an estimate of what lies on the planet without having to go around and look it all over. When used in space, these scanners report on the solar system space alone, and not any of the planets. Short Range Scanners use up 1 unit of warp fuel.
  • Broadband Scanners are used from space and scan every planet and moon in the entire solar system in one fell swoop. The result obtained is a total, representing the combined tons of all unidentified compounds across all planets and moons in the system. Broadband scans use 3 gallons of warp fuel.
  • Neutrino Scanners operate like Broadband Scanners except instead of reporting the total for all planets, they are capable of scanning each planet individually. So results obtained from these scans are more concise. Neutrino scans cost 5 gallons of warp fuel each use. The Neutrino Scanner shows the total of a planets mass. In order to read the results, use the following. The values the Neutrino Scanner reports are added into one total. Adding structures to a Biodome does not change the reading.
Reported Values (Tons)
  • Alien - 5
  • Artifact - 100
  • Biodome - 500
  • Flak Cannon - 25
  • Laser Cannon - 25
  • Mine - 15
  • Beacon - 10
  • Player - 200
  • Destroyed Biodome - 500

Here is an example scan:

  • 1 Biodome = 500
  • 14 aliens = 70
  • 125 cannons = 3125

Total reported Neutrino Scan = 3695

Here are the weights to look for:

  • 0-70 = 14 aliens on a tiny or inhabitable planet
  • 0-140 = 28 aliens on a gas giant. It is possible to be an artifact or mines.
  • 150-195 = This is usually an artifact; however, someone could have placed mines.
  • 200-495 = This means some combination of aliens, artifacts, and players. Usually, it's a sleeping player or an artifact.
  • 500-570 = Almost always Biodome with no cannons. Could just be multiple players or artifacts.
  • Over 570 = Almost always Biodome, likely defended. The higher the weight, the higher the defenses. Subtract 570 (biodome and aliens) and then divide by 25 to get the number of cannons. Sometimes, there will be a sleeping player.
  • 3625-3695 = This means the planet is a fully defended colony containing 125 Laser Turrets or Flak .
    Be careful; maps with an extremely wide landing area could kill you before you fly back to the warp. Land on these at your own risk, as you will likely be destroyed if you are unable to immediately take off again. Also, be careful when landing on greenhouse planets because the Ion Tower (a special building) will cause you to scan only the weight of aliens and player ships which makes it appear empty when it is defended.

Tactical Scanner are Short Range Scanners that have been modified for combat purposes. When your ship is equipped with a Tactical Scanner, you can see the shields levels of other ships. This Scanner does not use fuel and is always on.

Battle Scanner are another type of combat scanner. A Battle Scanner allows you to see cloaked ships. Just what an Avenger captain fears most! This Scanner does not use fuel and is always on.