Science & Tech

NASA’s IBEX spacecraft will investigate the Solar System’s outermost reaches

  • NASA has announced that its Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) spacecraft is fully operational after a successful reset by the mission team. IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) IBEX is a small NASA spacecraft designed to map the boundary between winds from the Sun and winds from other stars.
  • The spacecraft is about the size of a bus tyre, and its instruments point towards the interstellar boundary as it orbits our planet for nine days.
  • It was launched in 2008 and has already spent nearly 15 years in space.


  • The goal of IBEX is to map the solar system’s boundary and study the interaction between the solar wind and the interstellar medium.

Tech employed

  • IBEX technology employs two neutral atom imaging cameras to detect energetic neutral atoms created at the heliosphere’s boundary.
  • The cameras are mounted on a spinning spacecraft and can scan the sky to create a map of the boundary.


  • IBEX has made several significant discoveries since its launch, including the first direct measurements of the interstellar wind, which flows into the solar system from the direction of the constellation Scorpius.
  • The discovery of a “ribbon” of energetic neutral atoms stretching across the sky, possibly caused by the interaction of the solar wind with the interstellar medium.

Current Situation

  • IBEX is still operational and collecting data about the interstellar boundary.
  • Its mission has been extended several times, the most recent time until 2023.

@the end

  • The findings of IBEX have improved our understanding of the interaction between solar wind and interstellar medium.
  • It has aided in the refinement of models of the heliosphere and the solar system’s position in the galaxy.
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