Resource scanner

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The resource scanners are special instruments for scanning resources, or rather raw materials.

Resource exploration

The first step in finding locations which are rich in resources, for subsequent extraction. The M700 Survey Scanner is an orbital low resolution resource scanner is used to map broad areas of resource concentration on a celestial body. It provides a low detail overview of the entire celestial body, which can then be used to target specific areas for further detailed scanning with high resolution scanners. The scanner works well on a small 1.25m satellite, but has a large electrical demand when activated, so a Z-1k battery, or equivalent, is recommended. An antenna is required to upload the data back to KSC, and any antenna will suffice. Launching should probably make use of a payload fairing or cargo bay, as the scanner is large and not a good aerodynamic shape, so is likely to cause atmospheric control issues when placed on top of a rocket.

Celestial body Radius Altitude
Min. Max.
Kerbol 261.6 Mm N/A N/A
Moho 250 km 25 km 1.25 Mm
Eve 700 km 70 km 1.5 Mm
Gilly 13 km 25 km 65 km
Kerbin 600 km 60 km 1.5 Mm
Mun 200 km 25 km 1000 km
Minmus 60 km 25 km 300 km
Duna 320 km 32 km 1.5 Mm
Ike 130 km 25 km 650 km
Dres 138 km 25 km 690 km
Jool 6 Mm 600 km 1.5 Mm
Laythe 500 km 50 km 1.5 Mm
Vall 300 km 30 km 1.5 Mm
Tylo 600 km 60 km 1.5 Mm
Bop 65 km 25 km 325 km
Pol 44 km 25 km 220 km
Eeloo 210 km 25 km 1.05 Mm

The scanner requires a stable polar orbit at an appropriate altitude (see right). The scanner has a minimum and maximum scanning altitude based on the radius of the body it is scanning, clamped to a lowest minimum altitude of 25 km, and highest maximum altitude of 1,500 km. Once established in orbit, it must first be opened, then the scan can be performed: after actuating the instrument by clicking on the Deploy Scanner click on the Perform orbital survey. The scan is a once per body operation, and only takes a few seconds. The data acquired by the scanner is automatically transmitted, and it is the transmission which uses the large quantity of electricity. The deployed scanner can be deactivated by clicking on the Retract Scanner.

The scan result can be viewed in map mode (default M) while controlling the scanner satellite, or from the KSC Tracking Station. To view the results in map mode, right-click on the scanner while it is deployed and select Toggle Overlay. To view the results from the Tracking Station, select the orbital body and then click on the Resources icon on the right hand side of the window. There are options to change the data presentation. You can modify the display cutoff value (the higher the value, the richer the deposit) by clicking on the - and the +, the results' color and style. You cannot change these parameters from map mode. Retracting the scanner will hide the results until the scanner is re-deployed and the overlay is toggled again.

After using this scanner, it is possible to start resource extraction based on its results alone, but the best results will be achieved by using the scan results as the basis for performing detailed, targeted scans with the high resolution scanners:

The M4435 Narrow-Band Scanner provides high resolution surface scans of the celestial body it orbits. As the description implies, it can only scan a very small area directly below its position. Its purpose is mainly to locate areas with a high concentration of ore, in order to find spots with the highest yield possible for mining operations. Since it delivers a much higher accuracy than the M700 Survey Scanner, it is reasonable to scan areas with high resource concentration previously identified by a survey scan, or polar orbit for the full covering. Previously identified by a survey scan.

The Surface Scanning Module is used to improve scans on a certain planetary body after a player has already completed an orbital scan. The scanning module can narrow-down potential areas where a player can have improved ore mining output. The properly equipped rover can be ideal for high gravity environments, but a hopping lander is also an option for low gravity environments.

Available resource scanners

Image Part Radial size Cost
Max. Temp.
Max. altitude
M700 Survey Scanner.png
M700 Survey Scanner Small 1 500 0.2 2 000 7 50 Orbital All 1 500 000
M4435 Narrow-Band Scanner.png
M4435 Narrow-Band Scanner Small 1 000 0.1 2 000 7 50 Surface Ore 500 000
Surface Scanning Module.png
Surface Scanning Module Radial mounted 800 0.005 2 000 7 50 Surface Ore 1 000