One of the most elusive substances in the universe is dark matter. It’s an almost invisible substance that can only be identified by its gravitational pull. Now scientists and researchers may be one step closer to proving its existence and unveiling its mysteries.
According to Space.com, physicists using the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland may have discovered something that might put the supersymmetry theory — which indicates the existence of particles that are among the leading candidates for dark matter — into doubt. “I think we’re looking in enough different ways that unless it’s something that we just haven’t thought of at all yet, it seems to me we’re very likely to find it within the next decade,” said Dan Bauer, a physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois.
To be considered dark matter, the potential particles have to be neutral and stable, and will not interact with any other types of matter including galaxies, stars, and planets. These supersymmetric particles may be considered dark matter, but more testing and experiments have to be conducted to verify the findings. Most of the particles discovered may be categorized as heavy particles called weakly interacting massive particles.
The Cryogenic Dark Matter Search is the name of the experiment Bauer and his team is working on. But they are not the only ones on the heels of solving its mysteries. Experiments from laboratories in Italy and South Dakota are feverishly competing with each other to be the first to explain what exactly is at work with dark matter. “Most people in the field agree you’re going to need to see evidence of this in more than one experiment and more than one type before everyone’s convinced,” Bauer said.
“I’m pretty confident that dark matter is real, and it seems attractive for it to be carried by an elementary particle, although I could think it might not be exactly that way,” said theoretical physicist Lance Dixon of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California. “We might not be lucky that the elementary particle that is one that is within the realm of detection.”