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D. C. Slater (Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX), S. A. Stern (Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO), M. F. A'Hearn (University of Maryland), J. L. Bertaux (Service d'Aeronomie du CNRS, France), P. D. Feldman (Johns Hopkins University, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy), M. C. Festou (Observatoire Midi-Pyrenees, France)
We describe the design, scientific objectives, and "first-light" radiometric testing results of the Rosetta/ALICE instrument. ALICE is a lightweight (2.7 kg), low-power (4 W), and low-cost imaging spectrometer optimized for cometary ultraviolet spectroscopy. ALICE, which is funded by NASA (with hardware contributions from CNES, France), will fly on the ESA Rosetta Orbiter to characterize the cometary nucleus, coma, and nucleus/coma coupling of the target comet 46P/Wirtanen. It will obtain spatially-resolved, far-UV spectra of Wirtanen's nucleus and coma in the 700-2050 Å passband with a spectral resolution of ~5-10 Å for extended sources that fill the entrance slit's field- of-view. ALICE is also the UV spectrometer model for the PERSI remote sensing suite proposed for the Pluto Kuiper Express (PKE) mission. ALICE uses modern technology to achieve its low mass and low power design specifications. It employs an off-axis telescope feeding a 0.15-m normal incidence Rowland circle spectrograph with a concave (toroidal) holographic reflection grating. The imaging microchannel plate (MCP) detector utilizes dual solar-blind opaque photocathodes of KBr and CsI deposited on a cylindrically-curved (7.5-cm radius) MCP Z-stack, and a matching 2-D cylindrically-curved double delay-line readout array with a 1024 x 32 pixel array format. This array format provides a point source response that is twice that originally proposed (\Delta\lambda ~ 3 Å). Three data taking modes are possible: (i) histogram image mode for 2-D images, (ii) pixel list mode with periodic time hacks for temporal studies, and (iii) count rate mode for broadband photometric studies. Optical and radiometric sensitivity performance results based on subsystem tests of the flight optics, detector, and preliminary integrated system level tests of the integrated ALICE flight model are presented and discussed.