Probing Tutorial

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(EDIT NOTE: Waervyn did an excellent job with this page, all it really needed was some screenshot editing for the use of the current User Interface UI, so some of the pictures may not exactly match what he was discussing. I will do my best to mesh everything. SteelAngel)

This probing tutorial will demonstrate the tools to scan and probe Rocky Planet (3) in the SteelAngel-11z-296 star system.

Before you head out, make sure your ship has the proper Hyperdrive, and that you can carry in your cargo hold Core Sampling Probes (CSP) and Hydrogen. The Hyperdrive and the CSP's can be manufactured from your Space Station or purchased from the Galactic Market. Hydrogen can be gathered from gas planets or purchased from the Galactic Market.

If you are trying probing for the first time, feel free to gate to an outer system and try on one of the rocky planets in those systems. Inner9 systems can not be probed, but all other planets and moons in game can be.

Waervyn covers the basic for soil sampling: Waervyn's Soil Sample Video


Ship Computer

Helpful Copy/Paste Commands used on this page:

Ctrl + C Opens the Computer Console.

? Shows a list of High Level Commands.

show ? Variations of the Show Command.

show gg.g Shows the Gravity of the Planet in "G" Earth is 1 G.

show rs.pressure Shows the Atmospheric Pressure in Bars of Pressure. Once again, Earth is 1.

show rs.temperaturec Shows the Temperature in Celsius. -40 to 40 is Earth normal. Water Freezes at 0, and boils at 100. For all of us Americans out here, we have to do some math if we want to compare it to our Temps. Here is the formula where T is the Temperature. T(°F) = T(°C) × 9/5 + 32 That's what I thought, don't worry about it.

show rs.temperaturek Shows the Temperature in Kelvin.

show rs.composition Shows the Atmospheric Composition of gasses.

ch eject 1 core sampling probe Launches the Core Sampling Probes based on the number you put in the line.

show mb.samplemaps Shows a listing of all the Core Samples you have obtained.

show mb.samplemapoverlay on Turns on the Sample map overlay showing resource distribution.

show mb.samplemapoverlay off Turns the Sample map off while it recalculates the map, giving you a short window to see the actual planetary surface.

show mb.coresample Analyzes the section of the Sample Map you are pointing at.

The Ship Computer is equipped on all ships and is needed for all scanning and probing. The computer responds to specific text input, so spaces, capitalization or non-capitalization of letters is important.

In Other words... Show mb.coresample is NOT the same as show mb.coresample

To access your computer, click the Manage Ship button at the left top of the user interface. A Ship Management window will appear. Click the Computer button. You can close the computer screen using the same procedure. An easier method is to use Ctrl + C.

Accessing New UI Computer

This is Crazy Dave 6000. He is the talking computer that gives you voice guidance, compliments and insults. When he is not talking, he gives you valuable information in the form of text output. To get started, type a question mark (?) in the horizontal bar at the bottom of the computer window, then hit ENTER. Dave will give you a list of high-level commands you can use with the computer. We will be using the 'show' command from the list.

Accessing New UI Computer Help

Now type in the command: show ?

These are the options you can use with the Show command.

Accessing New UI Computer 'Show' Help


From Vulcan, you can Hyperdrive directly to MrSnuffleupagus-2. For a Yeti, 51 Hydrogen is needed to make the jump. (EDIT NOTE: Yes, I guess you can still do that, but who really wants to go survey a world named after an imaginary Sesame Street Character? Pump some hydrogen in that tin can you call a ship and point it towards the real stars. SteelAngel-11z-296. That is the system the current pictures are coming from. To get to it from Apollo you might have to have a little bit bigger ship than a Yeti. Just sayin'

Once you Hyperdrive to MrSnuffleupagus-2, open your Autopilot menu and select Rocky Planet (5) View Range. Now, what were we saying about that imaginary Character again...? That would be SteelAngel-11z-296 and Rocky planet (3)

Then Click on the Tab 'View Range' for Rocky Planet (3)

View Range

It will take you about this close.

Get ya' Some of That

To make travel time shorter, after you arrive in orbit, you can click on the actual name of the planet to get really close.


That will get you in pretty close. Less flying time.


Now that we got you in pretty close, you can see that the planet is VERY hilly. Since we know that our wonderfully high Tech civilization has yet to invent the Bulldozer to flatten out ground, we have to find a pretty level spot if we want to make a colony. Oh look, the floor of an impact crater... That should do it.

Flat Spot

Now fly towards the planet. Watch the bottom right of your screen as more information will appear which will help you land safely on the planet. Radar Altimeter is the immediate distance you are from the ground. Altitude is either the distance you are from sea level (if a sea exists on that planet) or the average height of the terrain (if an atmosphere exists). Landing can be difficult on some planets, so make sure your gravity anchor is off when you are touching the surface and your velocity is 0 m/s. You will know you landed properly when an Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) button appears at the bottom of your screen. EVA allows you to exit and enter your space ship. Outside your ship, the Soil Sample button will appear.

(EDIT NOTE: Since the Armor Plating on ALL starships was invented by the 'Acme SuperBall Corporation' landing is not really an issue, but it is nice to do it at a level pace. As you will notice on the bottom right of the picture, there are a lot of details that are not typically available to everyone. Those are computer commands, that you can go read up on, or I will let GinGurGurl do a video for you.


Now you can take a soil sample.



Now that you're standing on the planet, Dave 6000 can give you information.


Already, you have lots of great information. Let us look at the first part.


I am sure you are familiar with the mineral elements Aluminium, Silicon, Carbon, Iron and Titanium.

The Geology (Geo) of the planet signifies the concentrations of the different minerals and does not change the planet's overall composition. A Geo score of 1 (the lowest score) means the minerals are distributed evenly throughout the planet, which is undesirable if you want specific mineral concentrations. A Geo score of 5 (the highest score) means that minerals are concentrated in pockets. You can see these pockets once you use CSP's to scan a planet.

If you add up all the mineral data, the result should equal to 1. To make it easier to understand, convert all the numbers to percentages. In my scan, the data looks like this:

Rounded Percentage

For mineral distribution, this planet is pretty good. The geo rating of 4 should show us decent pockets of each different mineral. Even if this planet had a geo rating of 1, there could be enough even distribution for colonies to harvest all the minerals.

The Agricultural Analysis shows us the capability to grow food on the surface of the planet. On this Iron Rock, we are gonna be very hungry unless we have food shipped in to us. But with that Iron concentration, and the almost lack of silicon, it might well be worth it.

From that one soil sample, we have the mineral and vegetable distribution of the entire planet, so there is no need to gather more samples.

Decision time!

The purpose of probing planets is to determine if a player wants to colonize. Most planets and moons are terrible for colonization, so at this point you may want to move on and find something else to scan (see Planet Evaluation for Colonization). Since this planet has lots of potential, this tutorial will continue.


Let us gather more data. Type in the following commands into the computer:

show gg.g

show rs.pressure

show rs.temperaturec

show rs.temperaturek

show rs.composition


The gg. in a command means Gravity Generator. The rs. in the command means the Ram Scoop is used from your ship to collect information. Any level of Ram Scoop can be used since they all collect the same information. Let us discuss each command.

show gg.g

This measurement gives the Gravity. Ideally, 1.0 is perfect for humans (Earth gravity). Anything less and we will feel light and floating (0.5) to vomiting (0.1) since our bodies are not use to low gravity without training. The human body can withstand up to three times (3.0) gravity. Gravity higher than 3.0 and you cannot maintain sufficient blood-flow to the brain [1]. Rocky Planet (3) has 2.196918 gravity, so your bathroom scale and ego will suffer a 219% weight gain on this planet.

show rs.pressure

This measures the atmospheric pressure of the gasses surrounding the planet. Ideally, the best score is 1.0 (comfortable Earth pressure), which means a human can walk on the surface of the planet without being crushed or disemboweled by the atmosphere. If the score is 0, then there is no atmosphere, so you can't get a temperature or composition reading. A reading higher that 1.0 would feel like the planet is hugging you tight and a much higher reading would indicate the atmosphere will squeeze you into a puddle of bones and flesh. Rocky Planet (3) has a reading of 0.111, so breathing becomes very difficult [2]. Approaching 0, your body will expand and probably pop open due to less atmospheric resistance (we need pressure in our lives).

show rs.temperaturec

This measures the temperature in degrees Celsius (°C). An ideal range would be between -40°C to +40°C (like living between Northern Canada and Kenya). Rocky Planet (3) is 51.837 °C is pretty hot and not tolerable for more than a minute or so before falling to severe heat exhaustion and ultimately, death.

show rs.temperaturek

For those that want to use a scientific measurement, this command gives you the temperature in degrees Kelvin (°K). Essentially, all you do is add 273.15 to the Celsius measurement.

show rs.composition

This measures the types of gasses in the atmosphere or the composition of a body of liquid. Here they are:

Carbon Dioxide

If you add up all the data, the result should equal to 1. To make it easier to understand, convert all the numbers to percentages. In my scan, the data looks like this:

Rounded Percentage
Carbon Dioxide

The first thing you look at is the Oxygen (0%) and Nitrogen (4%). Humans need at least 21% Oxygen to survive and Nitrogen is a safe breathable "filler" gas (Nitrogen doesn't harm or help us except to fill up the atmosphere). On Earth, Nitrogen takes up 78% and Argon takes up about 1% [3]. One exception is increased atmospheric pressure can cause Nitrogen Narcosis[4].

These results pretty much means instant death with additional assistance from the high percentage of Methane (18%). Humans can tolerate about 0.004% Ammonia [5], so a reading of 0% is great.

In conclusion, Rocky Planet (5) hates humans. That's fine, colony domes will shelter us from the harsh atmosphere.


This is where you use your CSP's. Let us drop one onto the planet using the command: ch eject 1 core sampling probe

Eject one probe

I did some other things and waited for 10 minutes. Then I took a look at the status of my probes using the command: show mb.samplemaps

Samplemaps after 10 minutes

Time for some mathematics. The reason I waited for 10 minutes is to calculate the scan percentage per day.

(1440 minutes in one day) / (10 minutes of scan time) * 0.005202789% scan result = 0.749201616% scanning done per day

So, only 0.75% of the planet is scanned per day for one probe. To complete the scan:

(100% scan / 0.75% scan per day) = 133.33 days to scan the entire planet.

Let us speed this up by ejecting more probes so the scan only takes two days:

133.33 days / 2 days = 66.67 probes

So, it will probably take about 67 probes to scan the entire planet in two days (rough estimate). Since I already have one probe on the planet, I will eject 66 probes:

Eject sixty-six probe

You can eject as many probes as you want to increase the scan rate or you can go do other things. At any time, you can access your computer and look at the status of your probes. I took another reading later that day.

Samplemaps after some time

Waervyn's Probing Tutorial: Waervyn's Core Sample Probes Video


Rocky Planet (5) has liquid on the surface! To measure the composition of the liquid on Rocky Planet (5), I took my ship for a bath and used the show rs.composition command in the fluid.

Measurement in a fluid

The liquid is water (H20) and Ammonia (NH3). This measurement does not provide a percentage, just an indication of what is present.

** Note: Dual fluid types have been removed from the game. All fluid oceans now only compose of one fluid type.

Notice at the bottom right of the image is my depth under the fluid (30.0 meters deep). Now I will surface and use the show rs.composition command again.

Measurement out of fluid

Look familiar? The results are the same atmospheric readings we previously reviewed.

Waervyn takes a bath: Waervyn's Water Sample Video


Before we begin the next section, I should warn you that the next part of planet analysis can be painfully tedious if you are looking to build a colony at this location. Also, if you are color blind or have trouble differentiating between shaded colors, the overlay map will seem confusing.

After two days, my scan of Rocky Planet (5) in the MrSnuffleupagus-2 star system is almost ready.

Rocky Planet (5) at 99.96%

Let us verify that that the scan is done with another show mb.samplemaps

Rocky Planet (5) at 100%

Now the show begins. The probes have provided a map of the elements scattered around the planet. To make the next command work, you need to be near the planet (View Range is fine).

Enter the command: show mb.samplemapoverlay on


The computer is building the overlay map. Once the build is done, your view of the planet changes. Close the computer (Ctrl-C) to have a better view.


It goes from this...


To This.


What happened? Warp to the planet and find out.


The computer has divided the planet up into resource types. Rectangle sizes vary depending on planet or moon size. There are many shades of colors, each representing the quantity and type of resource in that specific rectangle. As you can see, the number of different colors is vast.

** Side Note ** - The only way to clear the map overlay is to leave the star system and come back or to restart your game. If you just need a quick view of the actual surface, you can type in show mb.samplemapoverlay off This will reset the map, and allow you to see the real surface for a short time while the computer rebuilds the Sample Map.

The next step involves looking at the resources in each different rectangle and determining resource distribution. Fly to the surface, hover between 1 and 5,000 meters above the surface and face your ship on a rectangle. Make sure your velocity is 0 m/s. Bring up the computer (Ctrl-C) and enter the command: show mb.coresample


A laser will shoot out and gather a core sample, then give you the results. Red tinged rectangles usually supports abundant Iron and other trace minerals. The lighter/brighter the shade of color, the more resources.

Dark shades and greyish rectangles have very low to non-existent resources.

Every other color rectangle mostly has minerals. It is fairly simple to fly around and check a few of the different areas and colors to get an idea of what is in store for a possible colony.


That's it! You now have the basics to do planet scanning. There are other tools and skills available to increase your efficiency, but those you can learn yourself (unless I create an advanced probing wiki page). See Planet Evaluation for Colonization for more details on how to choose a decent planet for colonization.

If you have any questions or concerns about the information on this page, I am IdeoPraxist (in-game) or Prolapser (in-game or through Steam). The Ascent community is very helpful, so don't be afraid to ask lots of questions.

See you in space.

Isn't he adorable

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