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VBSDC on Spacecraft 2

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 two 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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