At the start of a colony only the topography of the map and the starting sector's resources start uncovered. As a result further exploration is always necessary to support a colony, as well as gain additional benefits.
The map is divided into 100 sectors which need to be scanned to reveal what resources and Anomalies they hold - if any.
Sectors can be queued for scanning from the map overview. Sensor Towers drastically increase the scanning speed of nearby sectors and provide a small overall bonus to scanning.
A fast but expensive way to explore the map is to buy Orbital Probes from Earth which instantly scan a chosen Sector. In Space Race this is especially quick with the USA Sponsor, its Probes scanning 5 Sectors at once.
Building in unexplored sectors carries the risk of building on top of undiscovered resource deposits and anomalies.
Each sector can be deep scanned regularly via the Deep Scanning technology or instantly with probes via the Adapted Probes technology. Deep scanning can reveal deep Metals, Rare Metals or Water deposits. Deep deposits are the only deposits which may have the Very High Grade. Once every sector has been deep scanned any remaining Orbital Probes will be removed and new ones will not be available anymore.
- Event Anomalies trigger or advance events or Mysteries.
- Research Anomalies instantly generate a large number of Research Points.
- Breakthrough Anomalies reveal a Breakthrough technology. There are always 19 such anomalies.
- Tech Anomalies enable a random technology to be researched regardless of its place in the Tech Tree.
- Alien Artifact Anomalies are revealed in every explored and unexplored sector if the Alien Imprints breakthrough is found and researched. Such anomalies provide a boost to all research when investigated.
Meteors will sometimes create new anomalies.
Some historical landing areas also come with a special anomaly, such as the Viking 2 Landing Area (45N136E) having the wreck of Curiosity as an early anomaly.