Space Science Reviews

, Volume 146, Issue 1–4, pp 11–33 | Cite as

IBEX—Interstellar Boundary Explorer

  • D. J. McComas
  • F. Allegrini
  • P. Bochsler
  • M. Bzowski
  • M. Collier
  • H. Fahr
  • H. Fichtner
  • P. Frisch
  • H. O. Funsten
  • S. A. Fuselier
  • G. Gloeckler
  • M. Gruntman
  • V. Izmodenov
  • P. Knappenberger
  • M. Lee
  • S. Livi
  • D. Mitchell
  • E. Möbius
  • T. Moore
  • S. Pope
  • D. Reisenfeld
  • E. Roelof
  • J. Scherrer
  • N. Schwadron
  • R. Tyler
  • M. Wieser
  • M. Witte
  • P. Wurz
  • G. Zank
Open Access
Article

Abstract

The Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) is a small explorer mission that launched on 19 October 2008 with the sole, focused science objective to discover the global interaction between the solar wind and the interstellar medium. IBEX is designed to achieve this objective by answering four fundamental science questions: (1) What is the global strength and structure of the termination shock, (2) How are energetic protons accelerated at the termination shock, (3) What are the global properties of the solar wind flow beyond the termination shock and in the heliotail, and (4) How does the interstellar flow interact with the heliosphere beyond the heliopause? The answers to these questions rely on energy-resolved images of energetic neutral atoms (ENAs), which originate beyond the termination shock, in the inner heliosheath. To make these exploratory ENA observations IBEX carries two ultra-high sensitivity ENA cameras on a simple spinning spacecraft. IBEX’s very high apogee Earth orbit was achieved using a new and significantly enhanced method for launching small satellites; this orbit allows viewing of the outer heliosphere from beyond the Earth’s relatively bright magnetospheric ENA emissions. The combination of full-sky imaging and energy spectral measurements of ENAs over the range from ∼10 eV to 6 keV provides the critical information to allow us to achieve our science objective and understand this global interaction for the first time. The IBEX mission was developed to provide the first global views of the Sun’s interstellar boundaries, unveiling the physics of the heliosphere’s interstellar interaction, providing a deeper understanding of the heliosphere and thereby astrospheres throughout the galaxy, and creating the opportunity to make even greater unanticipated discoveries.

Keywords

Interstellar boundary Termination shock Heliopause Energetic Neutral Atom ENA LISM 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. McComas
    • 1
  • F. Allegrini
    • 1
  • P. Bochsler
    • 2
  • M. Bzowski
    • 3
  • M. Collier
    • 4
  • H. Fahr
    • 5
  • H. Fichtner
    • 6
  • P. Frisch
    • 7
  • H. O. Funsten
    • 8
  • S. A. Fuselier
    • 9
  • G. Gloeckler
    • 10
  • M. Gruntman
    • 11
  • V. Izmodenov
    • 12
  • P. Knappenberger
    • 13
  • M. Lee
    • 14
  • S. Livi
    • 1
  • D. Mitchell
    • 15
  • E. Möbius
    • 14
  • T. Moore
    • 4
  • S. Pope
    • 1
  • D. Reisenfeld
    • 8
  • E. Roelof
    • 15
  • J. Scherrer
    • 1
  • N. Schwadron
    • 16
  • R. Tyler
    • 17
  • M. Wieser
    • 2
  • M. Witte
    • 18
  • P. Wurz
    • 2
  • G. Zank
    • 19
  1. 1.Southwest Research InstituteSan AntonioUSA
  2. 2.University of BernPhysikalisches InstitutBernSwitzerland
  3. 3.Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of SciencesWarsawPoland
  4. 4.NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA
  5. 5.University of BonnBonnGermany
  6. 6.Ruhr-Universität BochumBochumGermany
  7. 7.University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  8. 8.Los Alamos National LaboratoryLos AlamosUSA
  9. 9.Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology CenterPalo AltoUSA
  10. 10.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  11. 11.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  12. 12.Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  13. 13.Adler PlanetariumChicagoUSA
  14. 14.University of New HampshireSpace Science CenterDurhamUSA
  15. 15.Applied Physics LaboratoryJohns Hopkins UniversityLaurelUSA
  16. 16.Boston UniversityBostonUSA
  17. 17.Orbital Sciences CorporationDullesUSA
  18. 18.Max Planck Institute AeronomieKatlenburg LindauGermany
  19. 19.University of AlabamaHuntsvilleUSA

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