Ad Hoc Science Working Group (ASWG) was responsible for identifying the core science goals for the JWST mission and developed in 1998-1999 hypothetical observing programs to accomplish them. These 25 programs were known as the Design Reference Mission (DRM) and were used to guide telescope, instrument, and satellite designs. Ideally the JWST would be capable of accomplishing the DRM in less than half of its nominal 5 year lifetime, leaving the remainder of the observatory's mission for broader studies and followup observations.
Observations were included in the DRM because they were thought to be representative of the types of science that people would do with a large, infrared-optimized space telescope.
The ASWG DRM programs fall within 5 main themes, each of them addressing some of the key outstanding problems in astronomy.
- Cosmology and the Structure of the Universe
- The Origin and Evolution of Galaxies
- The History of the Milky Way and Its Neighbors
- The Birth and Formation of Stars
- The Origins and Evolution of Planetary Systems