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Discovery Scanner icon

Scanner used during exploration.

— In-Game Description

The Discovery Scanner is an integrated scanner module used to instantly identify all astronomical objects within an uncharted star system. When activated, either in normal space or Supercruise, the Discovery Scanner catalogues stars and marks the positions of planets and moons. The Full Spectrum System Scanner can then be used to catalogue planetary bodies, and reveal the positions of any Signal Sources, while the Detailed Surface Scanner can collect in-depth composition data on planetary bodies and map their surfaces.


This scanner can be used in supercruise and normal space by assigning the module to the current fire group and holding the trigger down to charge it. Once charged, the scan will reveal astronomical bodies within the range of the scanner. Once revealed, these bodies can be further analysed by approaching and targeting the body, then facing it to a trigger a basic scan.

— Additional In-Game Description

The Discovery Scanner is one of the most important tools for an explorer. It can be activated and used to scan an entire system at once from any location within that system. However, while it will reveal all stars within an uncharted system and display them on the System Map, revealing any planets, moons, or asteroid belts will require the separate Full Spectrum System Scanner.

The Discovery Scanner needs to be assigned to a fire group and can be activated in both supercruise and normal space. The assigned control to trigger the scanner must be held down in order to charge the unit until the scan completes. After completing the scan, all stars in the system will be revealed and identified, but any planets, moons, and asteroid belts will remain unidentified and marked as "Unexplored" in the Navigation panel. Using the Full Spectrum System Scanner on these bodies or flying the ship in close proximity to them while in supercruise will provide identification data. Identified planets and moons can then be mapped using a third device, the Detailed Surface Scanner.

Data obtained from using only the Discovery Scanner can be sold to Universal Cartographics for credits, but the data's value can be enhanced by also using the Full Spectrum System Scanner and Detailed Surface Scanner where applicable. Bonuses are given if a pilot is the first person to discover and/or map any applicable bodies.


  • All ships come equipped with a Discovery Scanner by default.
  • The Discovery Scanner needs to be charged for 5 seconds before it scans.
  • If an undiscovered planetary body is scanned while the player is in a Wing, then all wing members will be given discovery credit when the data is turned in.
  • Unsold exploration data is lost if the player's ship is destroyed.
  • Unsold exploration data automatically transfers when the player switches to a different ship.

Pre-3.3 Discovery Scanners[]

Prior to Elite Dangerous: Beyond Chapter Four (3.3),[1] the Discovery Scanner was an optional internal module with three variants: the Basic Discovery Scanner, Intermediate Discovery Scanner, and Advanced Discovery Scanner. Each variant offered a different scanning range, with the Advanced Discovery Scanner or ADS being comparable to the current integrated Discovery Scanner. The old variants were removed with the Beyond Chapter Four update, and their specifications are listed below for archival purposes.

Class Rating Mass (T) Integrity Active Range Passive Range (LS) Scan Time (S) Value (CR)
1 E 2.00 40 500 0.33 5 1,000
1 D 2.00 40 1,000 3.34 5 505,000
1 C 2.00 40 33.36 5 1,545,000