The assembled Student Dust Counter instrument sits ready for installation on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft in August 2004. The device combines two major elements: an 18-by-12-inch detector mounted on the outside of the spacecraft, and a small electronics box inside the craft that determines the mass and speed of the space-dust particles that hit the detector. Here, the detector is hidden by a protective red cover.
The instrument was renamed the Venetia Burney Student Dust Counter in June 2006, honoring the girl who named the planet Pluto in 1930.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
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