When I started to draw the screen with the planet and the diagram of the orbiting probes, I was trying to decide the minimal number of probes that would let you get a clean scan. A tetrahedron (a D4) might work, but you’d need the probes to be really far away from the planet in order to avoid oblique scanning angles. The same can be said for a lot of shapes, actually.

I thought a dodecahedron (D12) would be nearly ideal, but those actually have more points on them than an icosahedron (D20). That is to say, a D12 configuration would take 20 probes, whereas a D20 would only take 12, because a D12 is comprised of pentagons, but the D20 is made up of triangles. That may seem obvious, but it was a bit of a surprise to me.

I’m sure someone has done a proper study about the fewest number of probes needed to scan a sphere. The diagram I drew probably has them too close to the surface to get a good look but it’s probably representative and not literal.

Double res version will be posted over at Patreon. $1 and up, but feel free to contribute as much as you like.