How much probe scan strength do I need for exploration?

Scanning Week continues at Pilgrim in Exile.

How much probe scan strength do you need to scan down all cosmic signatures?

The technical answer is 80.  The real answer is about 95.  I will attempt to explain with math.  I will probably fail.  Feel free to ask questions in the comments…

All of this refers to using Core Scanner Probes to scan Cosmic Signatures.  Combat probing will be covered in the next post.

Cosmic Signatures are banded by strengths.  The strongest is 20% and the weakest is 1.25%.  This is true for all areas of space.

The casual, unofficial formula looks something like this:

Probe Strength * AU modifier * Placement modifier * Signal Strength = Scan Result


Probe Strength is your Base Sensor Strength

AU modifier is 100% at Base Scan Range (ie 100% at 0.25AU’s; 50% at 0.50AU’s; 25% at 1AU; etc.)

Placement modifier is 100% when all of your probes are perfectly centered on the signature

Scan Result is the result returned by your scanning.  100% is needed for warp-in.


If you can achieve 100% placement accuracy, you can scan down a 1.25% signature with 80 probe strength.  (100% / 100% / 100% / 1.25% = 80)

But realistically, you can only achieve 100% placement accuracy if you already know where the signature is.  For scanning purposes, I would assume 85% accuracy.  Your scan deviation plays into this, but with a couple of tries, you can usually achieve 85% placement accuracy.

So realistically, to scan down the most difficult cosmic signature of 1.25%, you need a probe strength of 95.  (100% / 100% / 85% / 1.25% = 95).

Anything beyond 95 is pure gravy.  Higher probe strengths allow you to and resolve signatures faster and with less placement accuracy, but are otherwise unneccessary.

CCP has hinted that they may introduce something in the future that would require higher scanning skills.  Assuming that the next most difficult signature follows the pattern, it would be 0.625%.  The scan strength required to find it would be 188  (100% / 100% / 85% / 0.625% = 188.2).  That is not currently achievable without implants.

Currently, with a 50% scanning bonus ship (covops/strat cruiser), All V’s in scanning related skills, 2 Medium Gravity Capacitor Upgrade rigs, Sisters Core Probe Launcher with RSS probes, 2 Scan Rangefinding Array II’s, a full set of Virtue implants, and an AR-810 implant, you can just barely cross the threshold at 193 scan strength 204 scan strength (edit 2/12/14 – forgot the omega implant).