Monday, 20 Oct, 2008 Science

NASA Launches Interstellar Boundary Explorer to Observe Solar Winds


Scientists at NASA launched Interstellar Boundary Explorer into orbit with the goal of studying the solar winds. It is worth mentioning that solar winds serve as a shield for our planet and the entire solar system, defending it against the cosmic rays.

Ions that are emitted by the sun at 1 million mph form a "bubble," which, according to National Aeronautics and Space Administration, screens 90 percent of stellar radiation that pulses across the galaxy.

Bloomberg reported that Ibex was sent into outer space aboard a Pegasus rocket from the mid-Pacific Ocean. Scientists state that Ibex is the first spacecraft to observe dynamic interactions that occur in the solar system. They hope the spacecraft will provide a better understanding of the way solar winds from our solar system interrelate with the galaxy.

"Why the sun would be putting less flux out, no one knows. We don't believe we're in imminent danger, but we've only measured the solar wind for about 50 years," said David McComas, Ibex chief scientist at the Southwest Research Institute, located in San Antonio.

For the past ten years the intensity of the wind has decreased by 25 percent. Scientists assume that this decrease is part of a natural cycle.

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