The disposition of Kuiper Belt objects indicates gravitational currents that shaped the Solar System. Scientists are eager to study them
In addition to studying exoplanets and early galaxies, JWST's infrared imaging is revealing new views of objects in our own Solar System.
JWST observed these three ~1000 km wide planetoids in the Kuiper Belt using its NIRSpec instrument.
The spectra revealed abundant ethane, acetylene and ethylene on their surfaces - evidence these bodies retain volatile ices like Pluto and Eris.
The molecules detected likely come from irradiation of methane. This methane may come from interior processing
This provides insight into when KBOs become warm enough for interior processing of ices and can help understand irradiation of surfaces.
JWST's longer wavelength data enabled detecting these surface ices undetectable from the ground. The data quality also exceeds expectations.