Elite Dangerous Wiki
DetailedSurfaceScanner Ingame

Detailed Surface Scanner icon

Advanced astronomical body scanner used during exploration. Capable of launching probes that reveal important information about planets and stellar bodies. Can only be used in supercruise and only functions in analysis mode.

— In-Game Description

A Detailed Surface Scanner is an optional internal module that fires disposable probes (which are unlimited and do not require restocking like ammunition or limpets) at a planet, moon, or planetary ring system in order to acquire detailed cartographic and composition data. This information is displayed on the System Map.


Detailed Surface Scanner UI guide

DSS UI guide

The detailed surface scanner is used to launch sensor probes which scan a planet's surface. Each probe launched will arc towards a targeted planet and when close enough will deploy sensors to provide coverage for a large area. Once the entire surface area has sensor coverage all important sites will be revealed. Can only be used in supercruise and only functions in analysis mode.

— Additional In-Game Description

In order to use the Detailed Surface Scanner, a planet or moon must first be targeted. (You can use the Discovery Scanner and Full Spectrum System Scanner first in order to find to identify the planets and moons within a system in less detail.)

The pilot must travel to the body they wish to examine with the DSS; this may require approaching within a few lightseconds of a larger object, such as a gas giant, or within a few thousand kilometers of a smaller object, such as an icy body. The DSS will only operate once the ship is within range of the targeted body and has slowed to a low or minimum (30km/s) supercruise thrust. The closer the pilot's ship is to the object they wish to map with the DSS, the more precisely they can aim probes, and the flight time before impact of the probes will be lower.

Activating the DSS, by using the fire button assigned in a fire group (the DSS is titled "Surface Scanner" on the panel), will open a specialized interface to allow probes to be fired at the targeted object. The goal is to fire multiple probes at various angles so that they impact and scan at least 90% of the targeted object's surface. Probes can be fired directly at an object to map the side that the ship is facing, or at wider angles to arc around and impact the opposite side. Firing at too wide an angle will cause the probe to miss the object completely. The DSS has a clip limit of three probes, but will automatically manufacture replacements in seconds, effectively giving it an infinite supply of probes. Pilots do not need to wait for a fired probe to impact before firing another one.

Elite DSS Efficient Planetary Mapping

This guide shows how to efficiently map mid-size worlds. Red markings indicate where the first 5-6 probes should be fired on the UI, and the blue arrow indicates where the final probe should be fired to impact the opposite side.

Once the 90% mapping threshold has been met, the DSS will automatically fill in the remaining gaps on the object and award 100% completion. If the number of impacted probes is equal to or less than the listed "Efficiency Target", which can range from 2-22 probes depending on the object's mass, a credit bonus will also be awarded. The most valuable types of objects to map are High Metal Content Worlds, Water Worlds, Ammonia Worlds, and Earth-like Worlds, each of which typically require 6 or 7 probes.

Mapping a planet with the DSS will permanently reveal any significant points of interest on its surface, including any Settlements, Shipwrecks, Guardian sites, and Thargoid sites. These locations will be highlighted with markers that can be selected for planetary landings. Probes can also be fired at planetary ring systems orbiting an object to highlight any resource-rich areas. No matter the size of the rings, mapping a ring only requires a single probe, but complex systems with a gap and B... C... rings require one probe per ring division.

The first pilot to fully map an object and submit the data to Universal Cartographics will be given "First Mapped By" credit, which is visible when selecting that object in the System Map.[1]


Class Rating Mass (T) Integrity Power Draw (MW) Ammo Clip Size Probe Radius Value (CR)
1 I 0.00 20 0.00 3 +20% 250,000


The following modification can be applied to this module by Engineers to enhance its abilities:

Purchase Locations[]

System Station Date Seen
Shinrarta Dezhra Jameson Memorial Always available
Brestla i Sola Prospect Always Available
HIP 87658 Gilliand City Dec. 13, 2019
Akkadia Calvin Lawrence Dec. 13, 2019
BD+49 1280 Higginbotham Dock Dec. 13, 2019
G 35-15 Kirchoff Hub Dec. 13, 2019
Maikoro Hawking Port Dec. 13, 2019
Betel Amphipolis Dec. 13, 2019
Momus Reach Tartarus Point Dec. 13, 2019
Hel Jones Orbital Dec. 13, 2019

Engineered Detailed Surface Scanner V1[]

A pre-Engineered Detailed Surface Scanner with two Expanded Probe Scanning Radius modifications called "Engineered Detailed Surface Scanner V1" can be purchased at Human Technology Brokers. Unlike unlocking most other Technology Broker items, which makes them permanently available for purchase with credits at station outfitting services, unlocking the Engineered Detailed Surface Scanner V1 immediately places one module in local storage at no additional cost. The module must also be unlocked repeatedly in order to obtain multiple copies. Applying any other Engineering modifications to this module will remove the bonus second modification. The pre-applied modification increases the Probe Radius by 100%

Class Rating Mass (T) Integrity Power Draw (MW) Ammo Clip Size Probe Radius
1 I 0.00 20 0.00 3 +40%

Unlocking requires the following Materials:


  • The Detailed Surface Scanner cannot be used to map stars, even though the DSS interface can be activated while a star is targeted, as any probes fired at a star will simply vaporize from the intense heat. Stars can be analysed using the Discovery Scanner and Full Spectrum System Scanner.

Pre-3.3 Detailed Surface Scanner[]

The Detailed Surface Scanner was redesigned in Elite Dangerous: Beyond Chapter 4 (3.3). The old module's descriptions, stats, and functions are listed below for archival purposes.

Advanced stellar body scanner used during exploration.

— In-Game Description


A Discovery Scanner is required for the DSS to be useful; both modules must be present on the ship for this one to provide information. Use of this module increases the amount of credits that can be earned in stellar cartography by approximately 30%, and is considered essential for any pilot wanting to use exploration as their primary source of income.

In order to use this module a pilot must select the unexplored entity from their navigation panel then fly to within range (varies due to entity diameter) just as with scanning with the discovery scanner and as such does not need to be bound to a firing group.

The scan will take from 35 seconds down to 15 seconds depending upon the range at which the entity is scanned, 35 seconds for maximum range down to a minimum of 15 for close range. This difference in scan times may make it worthwhile to get closer to an entity being scanned to save a few seconds but risks the pilot being caught in the entity's gravity well.

Upon completion of the scan the pilot will receive a message confirming the detailed scan.


This scanner can be used in supercruise and normal space by being close to and targeting a stellar body first, then getting within range of the scanner. The scan will activate automatically when the ship is facing the planet and the above conditions are met. Completing a surface scan will yield higher monetary rewards for exploration data than discovering the stellar body alone.

— Additional In-Game Description

Class Rating Mass (T) Value (CR)
1 C 1.30 250,000
Engineer Modifications