The U.S. space agency has launched a probe Sunday to monitor the violence and turbulence at the very edge of the solar system.

NASA says its Interstellar Boundary Explorer, known as IBEX will orbit high above the Earth to take pictures of what scientists call the interstellar boundary.

The boundary is an area billions of kilometers away where hot solar winds crash into the cold gases of outer space.

Scientists call the boundary regions vital to safe human space flight, saying they shield the Earth's orbit from dangerous cosmic rays.

NASA says the IBEX images will allow scientists to understand the interaction between the sun and the galaxy for the first time.