Big news about Dark Matter `coming very soon`

Scientists have revealed that big news in the search for dark matter may be coming in about two weeks.

Updated: Feb 19, 2013, 12:26 PM IST

Washington: Scientists have revealed that big news in the search for dark matter may be coming in about two weeks.

That`s when the first paper of results from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a particle collector mounted on the outside of the International Space Station, will be submitted to a scientific journal, said MIT physicist Samuel Ting, AMS principle investigator.

Ting made the announcement Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fox News reported.

Though Ting was didn`t disclose about just what, exactly, the experiment has found, he said the results bear on the mystery of dark matter, the invisible stuff thought to outnumber regular matter in the universe by a factor of about six to one.

"It will not be a minor paper," Ting said, suggesting that the findings were important enough that the scientists rewrote the paper 30 times before they were satisfied with it.

But he said, it still represents a small step in figuring out what dark matter is, and perhaps not the final answer.

Some physics theories suggest that dark matter is made of WIMPS (weakly interacting massive particles), a class of particles that are their own antimatter partner particles. When matter and antimatter partners meet, they annihilate each other, so if two WIMPs collided, they would be destroyed, releasing a pair of daughter particles - an electron and its antimatter counterpart, the positron, in the process.

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer has the potential to detect the positrons and electrons produced by dark matter annihilations in the Milky Way.

Installed on the International Space Station in May 2011, the 2-billion-dollar machine has so far, detected 25 billion particle events, including about 8 billion electrons and positrons.

This first science paper will report how many of each was found, and what their energies are, Ting said.

If the experiment detected an abundance of positron speaking at a certain energy, that could indicate a detection of dark matter, because while electrons are abundant in the universe around us, there are fewer known processes that could give rise to positrons.