Levels of Exploration

How will we study IBEX data?

Matrix of Science Questions
Image Credit: SwRI/IBEX Team
Because so little is known about the interstellar interaction, the exploration of this region requires a broadly scoped science strategy. IBEX achieves this through three levels of study:

Discovery Level: simple raw IBEX images, energy spectra, and fluxes directly reveal the fundamental properties of the interstellar interaction.

Exploration Level: the combination of IBEX data products with simple physics-based calculations, theory, and limited 2D and 3D modeling explore the underlying properties and variations of the interaction.

Understanding Level: iterative analysis of the IBEX data, in concert with increasingly refined 3D models of the heliosphere expose the deepest secrets of the interstellar interaction.

The IBEX team includes many of the world's experts in the development of ENA instrumentation, analysis of ENA observations, and the science and modeling of the outer heliosphere and local interstellar medium. While inclusion of this broad group of scientists guarantees the quality of IBEX observations and their scientific analysis, IBEX is an inclusive program that actively seeks all points of view and inputs. Thus, IBEX sets aside $2M during Phase E for a NASA-selected guest investigator program that specifically targets the coordinated use of IBEX data products to iteratively refine 3D models of the heliosphere. NASA-selected guest investigators will participate as full members of the IBEX Team.