NASA satellite to study solar systems outer limitsOctober 18th, 2008 - 1:00 pm ICT by ANI
London, October 18 (ANI): A NASA satellite, scheduled to be launched on October 19, will study the outermost reaches of our solar system in unprecedented detail.
According to a report in New Scientist, the Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, satellite is scheduled to be launched from a site at the Kwajalein Atoll in the south Pacific on October 19.
It will operate for two years in high-Earth orbit.
The solar wind, a stream of charged particles from the Sun, forms a huge protective bubble around the solar system called the heliosphere. At the edge of this bubble, a shock wave forms where the solar wind collides with the gas and dust in interstellar space.
IBEX is designed to detect atoms that are heated and thrown off from this boundary, which shields the solar system from dangerous charged particles called cosmic rays that come from elsewhere in the Milky Way.
These boundaries really protect us from the fairly harsh galactic environment, said Nathan Schwadron, IBEXs head of science operations.
Every six months, we will make global sky maps of where these atoms come from and how fast they are traveling, said team member Herb Funsten of Los Alamos National Laboratory.
From this information, we will be able to discover what the edge of our bubble looks like and learn about the properties of the interstellar cloud that lies beyond the bubble, he added.
NASAs two unmanned Voyager probes were the first to begin to explore this region, which begins about three times farther from the Sun than the orbit of the dwarf planet Pluto.
Voyager 1 passed the inner boundary in 2004 and Voyager 2 crossed over last year.
The heliospheres boundary region is enormous, and the Voyager crossings of the termination shock, while historic, only sampled two tiny areas 10 billion miles (16 billion km) apart, said NASA scientist Eric Christian. (ANI)
- Scientists discover "noodle soup" of solar material at space bubble's edge - Oct 16, 2009
- Galactic magnetic fields may control boundaries of our solar system - Oct 17, 2009
- NASA's IBEX spacecraft reveals space as never seen before - Aug 17, 2010
- NASA spacecraft provides first view of our solar system's position in Milky Way - Oct 16, 2009
- 'Knot' in ribbon at solar system's edge 'unties' - Oct 01, 2010
- NASA spacecraft all set explore the dynamic interactions in outer solar system - Oct 07, 2008
- NASA spacecraft helps scientists map solar system - Oct 16, 2009
- Voyager 1 edges closer to solar system - Dec 15, 2010
- Voyager Spacecraft is Near Solar System's Edge - Dec 15, 2010
- NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft nearing edge of Solar System - Dec 14, 2010
- Scientists explore invisible space around Earth - Dec 15, 2010
- Suns protective ''bubble'' shrinking, say NASA scientists - Oct 19, 2008
- NASA probe to examine boundary between solar system and intergalactic space - Oct 14, 2008
- Scientists map previously undetected particles from edge of solar system - Jul 03, 2008
- Magnetic field allows interstellar space to be fluffy - Dec 30, 2009
Tags: alamos national laboratory, boundary region, earth orbit, galactic environment, inner boundary, kwajalein atoll, los alamos national laboratory, nasa satellite, nasa scientist, new scientist, protective bubble, science operations, shock wave, sky maps, termination shock, tiny areas, voyager 1, voyager 2, voyager probes, wave forms