Moon Surveying

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Scanning Moons

Before you can harvest a moon it probably pays to find out what it produces first. This can be achieved by Moon Surveying. Moon Surveying is an activity which involves flying to a moon and launching a probe into it to find what Raw Materials it contains.

You can probe any moon in 0.3 Security space and below.

WARNING: Warping to a moon which already has someones POS residing there will likely result in a swift and pretty damn quick episode of wtfpwned. A POS turret will pop your industrial in one shot.

What do you need?

  • Any ship with a good sized cargohold, CPU, and optionally agility (An Industrial or a cruiser could work)
  • Expanded Probe Launcher
  • Moon Probes

Skill Requirements

These are the skills for the necessary fittings and probes you require. Anything else is optional.


  • Expanded Probe Launcher I
    • Astrometrics II
      • Science III


  • Gaze survey probe I
    • Astrometrics V
    • Survey V
    • Science III
    • Electronics I
  • Discovery Survey Probe I
    • Astrometrics III
    • Survey III
    • Science III
    • Electronics I
  • Quest Survey Probe I
    • Astrometrics III
    • Survey III
    • Science III
    • Electronics I

Fitting a Ship for Moon Surveying.

Each Discovery Survey Probe uses 10m3, while Quest Survey Probes and Gaze Survey Probes are 5m3. This potentially makes any ship capable of performing moon surveys, but cruisers are particularly suited to the task due to the balance of their cargo hold sizes and their agility.

Fit your favourite Cruiser as follows:

  • Hi slot:
    • Expanded Probe Launcher I
    • Cloaking Device (to hide if you are being chased while surveying)
  • Mid Slot:
    • Afterburner or Microwarpdrive
    • Shield extender or Booster
  • Low Slots (A combination of one or more of the following):
    • Expanded cargoholds
    • Warp Core Stabilizers
    • Inertia Stabilizers

Aligning quickly is helpful, but if you expect to be scanning unscouted near a hostile POS, warp stabs can help you out of a jam.

You can only fit one probe launcher, but one is all you need. To properly scan a system completely, you'll need an amount of moonprobes that equal the number of moons you wish to scan. Note that a single system can have anything from 5 moons to more than 75.

Moon Probes

A moon probe works similar to a scanner probe, you launch it and it returns results.

  • Quest survey probe I: Takes 40 minutes to scan a moon.
  • Discovery survey probe I: Takes 10 minutes to scan a moon.
  • Gaze survey probe I: Takes 5 Minutes to scan a moon.

The above probes all do the same job but vary in time it takes to scan. The Probes that scan the quickest are more expensive and require more skills to use.


Before Surveying

Now you have your fitted ship and probes, fly to the planet of the moon you want to scan. If you fly directly to a moon where a hostile POS is anchored, your ship will be destroyed and the owner will receive an Evemail telling him that their POS has killed you. And you'll be out 20 Million ISK worth of probes.

Never warp straight to a moon.

When you arrive at the planet, open your System Scanner and do a 360 degree scan at maximum range. Sort the results and look carefully for a Control Tower. If you see one on the list then you can be fairly certain that one of the moons has a Control Tower anchored to it, which will probably have defenses that will gank you if you warp to it.

If you don't find any Control Towers then you may proceed to surveying. If you find a Control Tower you have to then isolate which moon it is at so you can avoid it.

Assuming you're confident with your skills at using the directional scanner, you can scan each moon and determine which ones have a control tower. If not, here's a technique you can try:

1. Create a midspace safespot.

2. Bookmark the safespot.

3. Eject from your ship

  • Note: When you eject, your skills wont apply for your ships cargo bonus anymore so your probes may be jettisoned in a can next to you.

Warp to each moon at 60km in your pod. POS defences do not attack pods so you should be safe, but if there are any hostiles around prepare to hightail it back to your ship. Each time you determine the location of a POS, make a note so you can avoid it.

Warp back to your safespot bookmark and jump back into your ship.

Moon Surveying can be quite time consuming. Try to plan for it during periods where hostiles are least likely to maintain a presence. Many corporations have big interests in particular systems and moons, and will hunt you down if they find you in there trying to eat their cake.


Now that it's all clear, warp to the Moon of your choice at 15km. Try to do your surveying in chronological order, going down the list numerically. By going down the list in order by planet and then moon, you can easily note which moons you've probed and if you need to return during another session, you can continue easily where you left off.

  • Fly to moon: On arrival you may not see the moon as moons vary in size and shade (but you will be 5000 km from it). Go to your overview settings and check to show moons. Now simply click the moon on the overview to highlight it.
  • Aligning to moon: This is now the easy part. Use the new align to button. Fucking easy compared to the manual align we had to do in the old days.
  • Launch probe: When you are 100% sure you are aligned and that the probe when launched will hit the moon then launch the probe by clicking the Probe Launcher Module. The probe will shoot out the front of your ship with a whoooosh and head in a straight line towards the moon. If you didn't align properly, the probe will miss the moon (and when the time comes you'll get a pop-up message indicating that "probe communication failed").

Once you have launched the probe, open your scanner. It will show the probes countdown time until it returns results. You will also notice there is a new tab in the scanner window called 'Moon Analysis', your results appear in there once the timer hits 0.

  • Note: If you already have your scanner open when you fire the probe you will not receive the countdown. DO NOT SPERGE OUT YET. Chill broheim, it's still working.

You can move on to the next moon while the probe is en route to the moon, you do not have to wait until the probe hits it and you do not have to wait until a scan is finished, just keep your scanner window open and continue your surveying.

WARNING: If you leave the system, change ship, or dock, your scan results will be lost. You have to stay in the system to receive the results. Losing your ship, however, will not affect you getting results (tested by Soggy Gravy.)

Once you've shot all the moons in the system or you've exhausted your supply of probes, warp to a safespot and cloak. This will ensure that nobody can probe you out enabling you to step away while your remaining results trickle in, which you can then record in a spreadsheet or on paper.

Ok, so all scans are now completed and the Moon analysis tab is flashing furiously. Click it and examine what is there. If a moon does not have any materials you will receive a pop up window after the scan telling you so.

The results are listed by planet and moon. Clicking on a result will expand it to show what raw materials can be harvested from that particular moon. The number to the right of raw material listing is the moon's abundance of that particular material - the total batch quantity that can potentially be harvested per hour. The Abundance attribute can be between 1 and 4.

It's now up to you to decide if the raw materials found at a specific moon are worth harvesting.

Remember that operating a moon mining POS require a lot of maintenance. The moon you choose has to be profitable enough to make it all worth it unless you will be covering the cost by 0.0 mining/NPC hunting or corp donations. Take into consideration the location and whether it's in hostile space, how defendable it is and how easy will it be to import fuel to maintain the POS while exporting the products.

For more information about operating a POS, check out the POS guide.

Exciting addition: How to scan moons with a POS on them

POSes can only target to 250km. If you warp to a POS at 100 in your pod, bookmark, and repeat until you have a bookmark +250km away then you can get your scan boat and scan from there.

- I've seen ships get popped up to 350km away from a POS. --Phil Miller 04:30, 23 April 2007 (CDT)

- drop a gsc with probes in it in the system and use a covops to scan these moons. --Xanetia Ravenfrost