Author(s): , , , ,
Institution(s): 1. JHU, 2. NASA/GSFC, 3. STScI
The James Webb Space Telescope is an infrared-optimized observatory to be launched to the Earth-Sun 2nd Lagrange point in 2018. The cryogenic telescope has a 6.5m-diameter segmented primary mirror that provides wavelength coverage of 0.6 to 28.5 microns, sensitivity 10X to 100X greater than previous or current facilities, and high angular resolution (0.068 arcsec at 2 microns). The capabilities of JWST will enable breakthrough studies of rocky and icy bodies throughout the Solar System, especially in the asteroid belt. JWST will provide access to the important 3 micron region free of the strong atmospheric absorptions that restrict observations from Earth. The 3 micron region includes many important molecules (H2O, OH, CO, CO2, CH), and hydrated mineral features. The sensitivity of JWST will enable 0.6 – 5 micron spectra of asteroids down to ~1 km in ~1000 second observations. Spectroscopy of Main Belt Comets will be possible in similar short exposure times. The science instruments have imaging, coronagraphic, and spectroscopic modes that provide spectral resolving power up to ~3000, near-infrared multi-object spectroscopy and integral field units. The first call for JWST observing proposals will be released in 2017. This presentation will describe the JWST mission, instrumentation, observing capabilities, and key science goals for asteroid studies.