Why is the IBEX mission important?

IBEX is the first spacecraft to map the entire region of the Solar System boundary. Mapping the current state of the outer edge of the heliosphere, the heliopause, helps scientists to determine what this important protective boundary is like. The heliosphere is our home in the galaxy, and understanding how it protects us as we orbit the center of the Milky Way is important as we plan future space travel beyond Earth and think about the conditions surrounding our Solar System in the distant past and future.