NASA's Mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt
VBSDC on Spacecraft 1
The Student Dust Counter instrument is clearly visible on the deck of New Horizons in this image, taken as the spacecraft was being encapsulated in the fairing of its Atlas V launch vehicle in December 2005 at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The detector segment of the instrument, mounted below the pair of protruding star-tracking cameras, has 12 individual rectangular cells. An electronics box inside the craft determines the mass and speed of the space-dust particles that hit the detector.
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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