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Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics


Exploring New Horizons: The Student Dust Counter Onboard NASA’s historic Pluto Mission

The Student Dust Counter (SDC) was designed, built, and operated entirely by University of Colorado Boulder students at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).

The SDC is the first student instrument to fly on a NASA planetary mission. The New Horizons mission, carrying the SDC, made its historic fly by of Pluto on July 14, 2015.

In this video, three current LASP employees who worked on the SDC project as students reflect on their experiences with this unique opportunity. (Courtesy Paul McDivitt/CU Boulder-LASP/NASA)
Length: 5:46

We the Geeks: Journey to Pluto

In preparation for the July 14th Pluto encounter, the White House hosted “We the Geeks: Journey to Pluto,” featuring experts from NASA’s New Horizons team to learn about the mission and the exciting discoveries scientists hope to make about Pluto.

Current and former SDC team members, Jamey Szalay, David James, and Tiffany Finley, joined host Tammy Dickinson, astronaut John Grunsfeld, NASA’s Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, Hal Weaver, Project Scientist for New Horizons, and Gabe Rogers, New Horizons Guidance and Control Engineer to discuss the upcoming fly-by and what we can expect to discover. (Courtesy The White House)
Length: 41:05

The Student Dust Counter: A Journey to Pluto and Beyond

The SDC instrument was designed and built entirely by students. As it continues on towards Pluto and beyond, so do the stories of these unique pioneers in dust collection. (Courtesy LASP)
Length: 4:10

NASA New Horizons mission launch

On January 17, 2006, the NASA New Horizons mission launched aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, towards the outer limits of our solar system. Witness the launch from T-1:00 to T+2:10. (Courtesy NASA)
Length: 3:11

Passport to Pluto

Go behind the scenes of the NASA New Horizons mission and see highly-realistic animations and interviews. Watch as the New Horizons team designs, builds, and witnesses the spacecraft launch on its way toward the previously unexplored reaches of our solar system. (Courtesy JHUAPL/Geoff Haines-Stiles Productions, Inc.)

Passport to Pluto (part 1)

Length: 10:17

Passport to Pluto (part 2)

Length: 10:58

Passport to Pluto (part 3)

Length: 10:39

Passport to Pluto (part 4)

Length: 10:54

Passport to Pluto (part 5)

Length: 10:17