Dark matter has been an invisible lurker up until now. But scientists believe that it makes up approximately 25 percent of the universe, based on its gravitational effects on the visible universe. Unrelated dark energy makes up nearly 70 percent of the universe, and the more familiar atomic matter represents just 4 percent.
The mine's dark matter particles may have revealed themselves as two tiny heat signatures in germanium and silicon that have cooled to a near absolute-zero temperature. Still, scientists caution that there's a 20 percent chance the heat signatures just represent background radioactivity in the underground cavern.
If confirmed, the find could represent the first evidence of supersymmetry, or the theory that predicts a shadow partner for every known particle.
The international team investigating the Minnesota mine, called the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search, announced the new results during simultaneous talks. They also plan to post their findings online in a paper, and have begun planning to deploy a larger dark matter detector called SuperCDMS.
A physicist told the New York Times that the discovery had triggered "a high level of serious hysteria" among dark matter experts. But true confirmation might not occur until more sensitive dark matter detectors, such as the xenon detector located deep beneath the Italian Alps, weigh in.
[via New York Times]
What exactly is Dark matter? Is it some kind of element or is something like atoms?
Dark matter basically consists of a type of ghostly, subatomic particle that's pretty much invisible to direct detection (for now). But as this story suggests, physicists still don't know very much about it -- it's existence has mainly been inferred from the "missing mass" in the observable universe.
Dark Matter on Earth, now that's awesome
so if found wat does it mean for technology?
aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhbbbbbbsolutely nothing. for now.
WIMP's, I have a couple of wimps working in my office, they also have an invisible force on all of us.....
The existence of dark matter is needed to validate current thinking in physics. The results from Minnesota haven't been validated yet. There's every chance their cause is not dark matter. It's possible dark matter doesn't actually exist and that the current favored physical models, which depend on its existence, are wrong.
knock knock......who's there? dark matter.....dark matter who?........i forgot where i was going with this
how many times are they gonna say they've discovered dark matter before they confirm it? It's been announced and debunked and rumored for almost a year. GET ON WITH IT!!!
They're worried that the LHC will beat them to it.
They just don't wanna seem racist when they reveal it.
I'm not fat! it's the dark matter that makes me look big.
I like the comments...a rare combination of elements...humor and science.
Right now dark matter and dark energy are a kind of mathematical place holder, a way to name something they do not yet understand.
Until someone comes up with a better more complete unifying theory that can be tested we will not know what fills that gap.
String theory has made a good stab and if it can be tested a proven might just eliminate many of the unknown factors of dark mater/energy
Providing we do not kill each other off someday we may know these things and maybe the knowledge will give us a way to go to the stars.
I can dream cant I :)