Is life a universal phenomenon, or are we unique? To answer this question, we must track the essential molecular ingredients of life from their formation in dense molecular clouds to their eventual incorporation into the planet-forming regions of the disks observed around young stars. These ingredients begin as simple ices and become more complex over time through a variety of chemical pathways that depend on their environmental conditions. Only through a combination of new observations, cutting-edge laboratory experiments, and comprehensive chemical modeling can we study this process.

The Early Release Science (ERS) program on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) offers the opportunity to tackle this transformative science during the first five months of JWST’s Cycle 1. Our program will provide a representative, non-proprietary dataset and additional science products that can be used by the star formation and astrochemistry communities to explore what JWST has to offer and to prepare for Cycle 2 observations. For further information regarding our science case, planned ERS program, team, news items, or to contact us, please follow the links posted in the menu above.