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A dust cannon was a prototype weapon the Daleks were developing during their Great War, sometime after 5000. It was a small, squat machine capable of pulverising rocks and then spraying them in a fine mist from its barrel.
The Daleks planned to use the final version to grind up asteroids into grains of space dust, making navigation for non-Dalek craft hazardous if not impossible. At the speeds combat craft flew, even a single grain of dust impacting on the hull could cause serious damage; a cloud of the dust could vaporise a vessel and be virtually impossible to detect.