What's the secret to unlocking the origins of our universe? A really expensive telescope. Using a $2 billion cosmic ray detector from the International Space Station, scientists from Europe's CERN laboratory may have found the first hints of dark matter, an elusive substance that may hold the cosmos together.
Experiment chief Samuel Ting of MIT, a Nobel-prize winning physicist, announced his findings at a briefing today at Europe's CERN laboratary. “Our evidence supports the evidence of dark matter,” Ting announced at the briefing. “I’m confident with enough time we’ll solve this problem.” He added that cosmic rays have left evidence of collisions with dark matter particles, though he said that more research would be necessary to know for sure.
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To be exact, the experiment identified a new particle that is the building block of dark matter, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The $2 billion instrument in fact couldn't see the dark matter directly because the stuff is invisible. But the 7.5 ton device found thousands of exotic particles called positrons that scientists say could be debris from dark matter particles, the Washington Post explains.
This discovery, though far from definitive, provides a "provocative hint" into the cosmic puzzle, as dark mattter is said to take up a quarter of the universe, the WSJ explains.
So what's it like to search for something that's invisible? "It took us 18 years to build this experiment," Ting said. Okay, maybe it takes a little more than an expensive telescope.