ALICE: The Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph aboard the New Horizons Pluto-Kuiper Belt Mission

Stern, S. Alan
Slater, David C.
Scherrer, John
Stone, John
Dirks, Greg
Versteeg, Maarten
Davis, Michael
Gladstone, G. R.
Parker, Joel Wm.
Young, Leslie A.
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The New Horizons ALICE instrument is a lightweight (4.4 kg), low-power (4.4 Watt) imaging spectrograph aboard the New Horizons mission to Pluto/Charon and the Kuiper Belt. Its primary job is to determine the relative abundances of various species in Pluto's atmosphere. ALICE will also be used to search for an atmosphere around Pluto's moon, Charon, as well as the Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) that New Horizons hopes to fly by after Pluto-Charon, and it will make UV surface reflectivity measurements of all of these bodies as well. The instrument incorporates an off-axis telescope feeding a Rowland-circle spectrograph with a 520-1870 angstroms spectral passband, a spectral point spread function of 3-6 angstroms FWHM, and an instantaneous spatial field-of-view that is 6 degrees long. Different input apertures that feed the telescope allow for both airglow and solar occultation observations during the mission. The focal plane detector is an imaging microchannel plate (MCP) double delay-line detector with dual solar-blind opaque photocathodes (KBr and CsI) and a focal surface that matches the instrument's 15-cm diameter Rowland-circle. In what follows, we describe the instrument in greater detail, including descriptions of its ground calibration and initial in flight performance.
Comment: 24 pages, 29 figures, 2 tables; To appear in a special volume of Space Science Reviews on the New Horizons mission