Venetia Burney Student Dust Counter (SDC)

Explanation: Designed and built by students at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the SDC detects microscopic dust grains produced by collisions among asteroids, comets, and even Kuiper Belt Objects during New Horizons' long journey. Officially a New Horizons Education and Public Outreach project, SDC is the first science instrument on a NASA planetary mission to be designed, built and "flown" by students. The SDC counts and measures the sizes of dust particles, producing information on the collision rates of such bodies in the outer solar system. In June 2006 the instrument was named for Venetia Burney, who at age 11 offered the name "Pluto" for the newly discovered ninth planet in 1930.


Image credit: NASA.