ALICE Scientific Goals

  1. Directly determine the volatilized helium (He), neon (Ne), Argon (Ar), and possibly krypton (Kr), and the nitrogen (N2) content of the nucleus in order to provide information concerning the temperature of formation and the thermal history of the comet since its formation;
  2. Directly determine the production rates and spatial distributions of the key parent species, water (H2O), carbon monoxide (CO), and carbon dioxide (CO2), thereby allowing the nucleus/coma coupling to be observed and interpreted without significant ambiguities;
  3. Obtain unambiguous atomic budget measurements of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur in the coma to derive the elemental composition of the volatile fraction of the nucleus; and
  4. Study the onset of cometary nuclear activity
  5. Map the cometary nucleus at far-UV wavelengths and characterizing the presence of icy UV absorbers on its surface;
  6. Study the photometric properties of small grains in the coma as an aid to understanding the size distribution of cometary grains and how they vary in time; and
  7. Map the time variability of O II, C II, and N II emissions in the coma and ion tail around perihelion in order to connect nuclear activity to changes in tail morphology and structure, and coupling to the solar wind.