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How to do Scanning, Probing and Mining of Planets in Mass Effect 3

Updated on May 4, 2013

What's Scanning?

You may remember the planet mining feature from Mass Effect 2 that allowed you to find precious materials (Element Zero, Platinum, etc.) by scanning planets and then sending out probes. Mass Effect 3 has done away with space mining and replaced it with scanning. By scanning systems, you can find extra fuel, extra credits, important resources and mission items.

Do you think scanning is an improvement over the mining system from Mass Effect 2?

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How To Scan

Scanning is a fairly simple matter. First, enter a local star system. You can't scan from the galaxy or cluster maps. Press whichever button is displayed on screen as the "Scan" button. On the PC, the default Scan button is the right mouse button.

Reaper Threat

While you don't need to buy probes to scan a local system, there is a cost. Whenever you scan in a Reaper-controlled section of space, you are sending out a signal. The Reapers will find that signal, and they will come for you. And if you know anything about the Mass Effect universe, you know that is bad. Watch the red threat bar and, if you see Reapers enter the system, get to the nearest Mass Effect Relay and run. If you need to run from one local system to another, make sure you have enough fuel. If you get caught, you'll have to reload your last save.

What You'll Find

Unlike space mining, you're not after minerals this time around. Here are some of the things you will find:

  • Credits from salvage
  • Fuel
  • War assets- military units, weapons, etc.
  • Items needed to complete missions


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