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The White Glove Test: Discovering Dust in the Solar System

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Grade Levels

Grades 5-8, Grades 9-12


Mathematics, Space Science, Solar System and Planets


Lesson Plans / Activities

The Student Dust Counter is an instrument aboard the NASA New Horizons mission to Pluto, launched in 2006. As it travels to Pluto and beyond, SDC will provide information on the dust that strikes the spacecraft during its 14-year journey across the solar system. These observations will advance our understanding of the origin and evolution of our own solar system, as well as help scientists study planet formation in dust disks around other stars.

In this lesson, students explore the SDC data interface to establish any trends in the dust distribution in the solar system. Students record the number of dust particles, “hits,” recorded by the instrument and the average mass of the particles in a given region.

The White Glove Test Teacher Pages [268KB PDF file]
The White Glove Test Student Pages [75KB PDF file]

More Student Dust Counter lessons:
A Dusty Dilemma
Speaking Volumes About Dust