The IBEX Space Probe has been studying the area outside of our Solar System. It’s currently in an orbit about 5/6ths of the way to the Moon so it can detect particles coming in from interstellar space without interference from Earth’s electromagnetic field. Researchers have found that the space that lies within our Solar System is not quite like the space that is outside of our Solar System. It seems that there is quite a bit more oxygen within our solar system. The cause of this isn’t precisely known but it’s thought that this is due to our solar system forming in a different region of space than it now exists in. This could easily have been caused by the rotation of the Sun around the Galaxy center, which happens about every 225 Million years. The excess oxygen could also have come from the large amounts of water that is contained both in the inner Solar System on planets like Earth and in the outer Solar System Kupier belt, or because oxygen is being captured in the Oort Cloud of comets. outside the Solar System.
So there is a little more oxygen in our Solar System, what does that matter? Well, if we are ever going to venture beyond our own star then we need to know how the conditions differ in interstellar space. We already know that there is a much higher occurrence of deadly cosmic rays as soon as you venture beyond the Heliopause and Bow Shock, which could severely affect both life and equipment. We are currently sending both the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes to the edges of our Solar System to find out what they can but they have been traveling for about 45 years to get there and they weren’t designed specifically for this mission. With travel times like that, it’s not likely that we are going to send another probe to the edge of the Solar System anytime soon. Any information that we can find about interstellar space is going to be useful because all of our actual exploration has been done inside our Solar System. The important thing is that we now we know there is a difference, we can now find out why this happens and exactly how this will affect us.