Exploring a planet's surface is one of the main features in No Man's Sky.
Using the multi-tool's scanner or starship scanner, the character can survey a planet for points of interest or analyse flora and fauna to discover specific biological information. They can encounter aliens and learn how to build new technology.
Scanning in space, the character can detect a signal from a single points of interest, usually an abandoned building, Manufacturing Facility, Operations Center, trading post, Transmission tower, or mineral deposit. The character can also scan for points of interest while on a planet, or moon, using a signal scanner. The compass at the top of the HUD will display hexagonal waypoint markers for each detected point of interest.
Sectors are areas of planets — oceans, valleys, deserts, woods etc. Each sector has a sector beacon, or save point, that the player can activate to claim discovery of the area. They are commonly found at locations with buildings, such as Shelters, Outposts, Manufacturing Facilities, Operations Centers, Transmission towers, and Observatories. Signal Scanners are often found near sector beacons.
A question mark represents an undiscovered sector beacon. The starship scanner will always reveal the nearest question mark locations.