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Space Science Reviews

, Volume 140, Issue 1–4, pp 129–154 | Cite as

Ralph: A Visible/Infrared Imager for the New Horizons Pluto/Kuiper Belt Mission

  • Dennis C. Reuter
  • S. Alan Stern
  • John Scherrer
  • Donald E. Jennings
  • James W. Baer
  • John Hanley
  • Lisa Hardaway
  • Allen Lunsford
  • Stuart McMuldroch
  • Jeffrey Moore
  • Cathy Olkin
  • Robert Parizek
  • Harold Reitsma
  • Derek Sabatke
  • John Spencer
  • John Stone
  • Henry Throop
  • Jeffrey Van Cleve
  • Gerald E. Weigle
  • Leslie A. Young
Article

Abstract

The New Horizons instrument named Ralph is a visible/near infrared multi-spectral imager and a short wavelength infrared spectral imager. It is one of the core instruments on New Horizons, NASA’s first mission to the Pluto/Charon system and the Kuiper Belt. Ralph combines panchromatic and color imaging capabilities with SWIR imaging spectroscopy. Its primary purpose is to map the surface geology and composition of these objects, but it will also be used for atmospheric studies and to map the surface temperature. It is a compact, low-mass (10.5 kg) power efficient (7.1 W peak), and robust instrument with good sensitivity and excellent imaging characteristics. Other than a door opened once in flight, it has no moving parts. These characteristics and its high degree of redundancy make Ralph ideally suited to this long-duration flyby reconnaissance mission.

Keywords

New Horizons Pluto/Charon Kuiper Belt Ralph Multi-spectral imager Infrared spectral imager Hyperspectral imager Wedged filter TDI 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis C. Reuter
    • 1
  • S. Alan Stern
    • 2
  • John Scherrer
    • 3
  • Donald E. Jennings
    • 1
  • James W. Baer
    • 4
  • John Hanley
    • 3
  • Lisa Hardaway
    • 4
  • Allen Lunsford
    • 1
  • Stuart McMuldroch
    • 5
  • Jeffrey Moore
    • 6
  • Cathy Olkin
    • 7
  • Robert Parizek
    • 4
  • Harold Reitsma
    • 4
  • Derek Sabatke
    • 4
  • John Spencer
    • 7
  • John Stone
    • 3
  • Henry Throop
    • 7
  • Jeffrey Van Cleve
    • 4
  • Gerald E. Weigle
    • 3
  • Leslie A. Young
    • 7
  1. 1.Code 693NASA/GSFCGreenbeltUSA
  2. 2.Space Sciences and Engineering DivisionSouthwest Research Institute (SwRI)BoulderUSA
  3. 3.SwRISan AntonioUSA
  4. 4.Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation (BATC)BoulderUSA
  5. 5.SSG Precision OptronicsWilmingtonUSA
  6. 6.MS 245-3NASA/Ames Research CenterMoffett FieldUSA
  7. 7.Dept. of Space StudiesSouthwest Research Institute (SwRI)BoulderUSA

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