Science Goals

MW/ISM/Nearby Galaxies Killer Apps

Killer apps in the top 14:

Other killer apps for MW/ISM/Nearby Galaxies Group:

Previous work on Killer App Proposals and connection with "Key Science Questions" below

March/April 2017 Brainstorming

Add notes here: Additional Science Goals

Add notes here: Comments on Instrument Design Study

Key Science Questions for MW/ISM/Nearby Galaxies Science with the Far-IR Surveyor

Topic 1: Star Formation & Feedback

  1. How are star formation and feedback regulated in galaxies and how do they interact with the wider environment? How do star formation and feedback processes vary with environment?
    • Q1.1.a - What sets the balance of ISM phases and what controls the cycling between the phases?
    • Q1.1.b - How do molecular clouds form and how long do they last?  How does the C+/C/CO transition change in molecular gas under different environmental conditions?
    • Q1.1.c - What is the magnetic field structure of our Galaxy from kpc to protostellar core scales?
    • Q1.1.d - What are the physics responsible for the universality of the IMF?  How is mass accreted onto stars and what is the role of major/minor accretion events?
    • Q1.1.e - What sets the star-forming efficiency of a galaxy?  Of a cloud? How does this depend on environmental factors?
    • Q1.1.f - How does feedback from star formation/AGN impact the ISM and IGM? What is the census of material recycled/expelled from galaxies?
    • Q1.1.g - Where and how does ISM turbulence decay?  What are the generation and injection scales and sources?
  2. What is the interplay between SMBH feeding and star formation?  
    • Q1.2.a - What’s going on in the Galactic center, and how does that inform our understanding of AGN?

Topic 2: The Cosmic History of Dust and Molecules

  1. What is the cosmic history of the growth of metals and dust?
    • Q2.1.a - What controls the life cycle of interstellar dust?
    • Q2.1.b - What is the nature and abundance of the large grains in the ISM and how does this connect with the pre-planetesimal grains?
  2. What is the chemical trail from molecular clouds to proto-planetary disks?
    • Q2.2.a - How do complex molecules (including pre-biotic molecules) form and where do they form?]
    • Q2.2.b - How does deuterium chemistry in interstellar and circumstellar environments inform our understanding of D/H in the solar system and the development of Earth’s oceans?
    • Q2.2.c - What is the path of H2O from the interstellar medium to planets?