The primary purpose of the Director's Discretionary Early Release Science (DD ERS) program is to educate and inform the community regarding JWST's capabilities, and provide rapid access to substantive, representative datasets to enable full scientific exploitation in Cycle 2 and beyond. The rationale, goals, and organizing principles of the DD ERS program are described. Approved JWST Director's Discretionary Early Release Science (DD ERS) programs are required to provide project updates to the astronomy community and undergo status reviews by STScI.
With its 6.5m mirror and suite of four science instruments, JWST will provide imaging, spectroscopic and coronagraphic capabilities from 0.6 to 28.5 microns, offering an unprecedented combination of sensitivity and spatial resolution to study objects from the Solar System to the most distant galaxies. Realizing JWST’s full science potential requires that the scientific community rapidly learns to use its sophisticated capabilities. To that end, STScI, in consultation with the JWST Advisory Committee, has developed the Director’s Discretionary Early Release Science (DD ERS) program.
Goals and Principles
The overall goals of the DD ERS program are to:
These goals distinguish the DD ERS program from standard GO investigations. In service of these goals, DD ERS proposals are invited from the community.
The DD ERS program is guided by the following key principles:
The DD ERS program will be essential for informing the scientific and technical preparation of Cycle 2 General Observer (GO) proposals, submitted seven months after the end of commissioning.
Project Updates for the Community
A prime goal of the DD ERS program is informing the astronomical community of JWST's scientific capabilities . DD ERS teams will contribute to this goal by sharing progress on their projects, with special focus on lessons learned on JWST observation planning strategies, data processing, and science analysis. Webcasted briefings given by DD ERS teams, will be organized by STScI as part of JWST community workshops. Prospective DD ERS teams should account for the effort required to support such briefings in the workplan and budget outlined in the submitted proposal. DD ERS teams should plan to support two major briefings, 2-3 months after JWST launch, and ~1 month prior to the release of the Cycle 2 Call for Proposals. The exact schedule will be determined at a later date.
To help ensure that the overall DD ERS program will achieve its stated goals, STScI will review the status of each project at key points. Where appropriate, review panels will include both STScI staff and external community members. The timing of the reviews will be such that materials prepared by the DD ERS teams for the reviews can used to inform the broader community in January and September 2019. The reviews will assess the progress of each team relative to schedule milestones and delivery of science-enabling products as described in their workplans, identifying challenges that arise, together with potential solutions. Continued funding will be contingent upon satisfactory progress at each stage.
The nature of each review is as follows: