Massive Stars: Key to Solving the Cosmic Puzzle

Wofford, Aida; Leitherer, Claus; Walborn, Nolan R.; Smith, Myron; Peña-Guerrero, María; Bianchi, Luciana; Thilker, David; Hillier, John D.; Maíz Apellániz, Jesús; García, Miriam; Herrero, Artemio
eprint arXiv:1209.3199


We describe observations in the nearby universe (<100 Mpc) with a 10-m or larger space-based telescope having imaging and spectral capabilities in the range 912-9000 \AA that would enable advances in the fields of massive stars, young populations, and star-forming galaxies, that are essential for achieving the Cosmic Origins Program objectives i) how are the chemical elements distributed in galaxies and dispersed in the circumgalactic and intergalactic medium; and ii) when did the first stars in the universe form, and how did they influence their environments. We stress the importance of observing hundreds of massive stars and their descendants individually, which will make it possible to separate the many competing factors that influence the observed properties of these systems (mass, composition, convection, mass-loss, rotation rate, binarity, magnetic fields, and cluster mass).