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Ice Age – The Era of the James Webb Space Telescope
Ices (H2O, CO2, CO, CH3OH, and more) are the main reservoir of heavy elements in dense interstellar clouds and protostellar envelopes and disks. Via the protostellar collapse phase they end up in comets and planetesimals, which then enrich young planets with the volatiles needed to form oceans, atmospheres, and ultimately life. During this voyage, chemical modification by thermal and energetic (ultraviolet photons, cosmic rays, electrons) and non-energetic (atom- addition) processes takes place; complex organic molecules form and molecules photodesorb, linking the solid state and gas phase in space. The initial ice structure and composition as well as the nature and extent of the modification processes are still surrounded by many questions.
This workshop brings together observational, theoretical, and laboratory astrophysicists to direct future work on the topic of interstellar and circumstellar ices. It is timed with the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in 2018, and associated calls for observing proposals in 2017, early 2018, and beyond.
The overall goal is to provide an overview of the state-of-the-art through a number of on topic talks by the specialists in the field and to coordinate the efforts of observers, experimentalists and theorists/modelers to realize those relevant science objectives with JWST that will truly advance the field of cosmic ices. We aim for the following deliverables:
1. Agreement on ice observing programs most suited for JWST
2. Overview of laboratory experiments needed to support the JWST observations and to help in the data analysis
3. Overview of modeling efforts needed to support JWST data analysis
To realize these deliverables, time is reserved on the first three days of the workshop for focus group meetings. The focus groups will be defined along selected topics (e.g., the cometary-ISM link, dense cloud ices, protoplanetary disks, supporting laboratory experiments, supporting astrochemical models, ices as a function of metallicity). On the last day, the observing proposal strategy and prioritized lists with laboratory experiments and modeling efforts will be discussed in plenary sessions.
The ultimate goal is to form non-competing teams, comprising specialists from different fields, with complementary expertise to substantially enhance the chance on proposal acceptance along scientifically timely topics backed up by laboratory experiments and astrochemical models.