The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) on JWST will provide direct imaging and medium resolution spectroscopy (R~3000) over the wavelength range 5 - 28.3 micron, coronagraphic imaging at 10.65, 11.4, 15.5 and 23 micron, and low resolution spectroscopy (R~100) over the wavelength range 5 - 10 micron. JWST's cold, large aperture and MIRI's state-of-the-art detector arrays are expected to provide ~50 times the sensitivity and 7 times the angular resolution of Spitzer. As a result, MIRI is expected to make important contributions to all four of the primary science themes for JWST: 1.) discovery of the "first light"; 2.) assembly of galaxies: history of star formation, growth of black holes, production of heavy elements; 3.) how stars and planetary systems form; and 4.) evolution of planetary systems and conditions for life.
MIRI is jointly developed by the US and a nationally funded European Consortium (EC) under the auspices of the European Space Agency. George Rieke (University of Arizona) and Gillian Wright (UK Astronomy Technology Centre) are the MIRI Science Leads. JPL chairs joint overall management and system engineering teams, and is responsible for the focal plane system and the flight software. The EC is responsible for the optics, optical bench, and assembly, integration, and test of the MIRI instrument.
The MIRI Science Team met at STScI and discussed ongoing efforts at STScI and the overall MIRI Guaranteed Science Program. STScI MIRI team members gave presentations on coronagraphic observation planning & operations, the JWST 3D Exposure Time Calculator, and a study of how science parallel observations might be implemented.
The Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) Cryo-Vac Test 2 began and STScI MIRI team members are supporting this multi-month testing campaign along with MIRI team members from Europe and the USA.
The MIRI team at STScI supported the continued characterization at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) of the state-of-the-art Si:As detectors. MIRI team members staffed shifts during the testing and have started analyzing a subset of the data taken.
Over the last year, the MIRI instrument was successfully integrated into the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) and checked out at cryogenic temperatures during the Cryo Vac 1 Risk Reduction (CV1RR) testing. The MIRI CV1RR testing results show that the instrument is performing as expected as the CV1RR data are fully consistent with the previous instrument level testing results taken at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the United Kingdom.