General, Research, Technology

Can dark matter be found on Earth or in the solar system?

Most recently, in 2014, astrophysicist LisaRandall and Matthew Rees of Harvard University have suggested that the largest gravitational perturbations in the Oort Cloud could be caused by an invisible thin disk of exotic dark matter. Astronomers believe that dark matter - a mysterious form of matter that interacts only through the force of gravity - makes up about 85 percent of all matter in the universe. Surprisingly, all visible matter, that is, planets, stars, nebulae and galaxies, make up only 15 percent of the total. It is impossible to see dark matter, but it bends space-time, like ordinary matter, although of course it is not. Moreover, it cannot even consist of the same particles that form everything that is familiar to us, otherwise, we could see it. The researchers note that for every kilogram of ordinary matter, consisting of neutrons, protons and electrons, there are five kilograms of dark matter, which is not known what. But if this mysterious substance exists in the entire universe, can it be found here on Earth?

Dark matter does not participate in electromagnetic interaction, which means it is not subject to direct observation.

Guests from the Oort Cloud

In 1997, Comet Hale-Bopp mesmerized earthlings,passing through the solar system. This celestial wanderer turned out to be from the distant Oort Cloud - the region from which all comets appear and which surrounds the outer part of our solar system. This comet deposit got its name in honor of Jan Oort, an unusual scientist who explained in 1932 the absurd discrepancy between the visible matter of our Galaxy and the speed of its stars.

Oort stated that the Milky Way is fillingan unknown type of matter, which has never before been found in any form, neither here on Earth, nor anywhere else because it does not interact with light and is inaccessible to direct observation. The astronomer named this mysterious substance dark matter... According to his work, the visible effects of darkmatters manifest themselves only indirectly through gravity, which bends space-time. Interestingly, all the numerous experiments carried out since the 1930s have come to the same conclusion.

Comet Hale-Bopp could be observed with the naked eye for 18 long months. It is considered the most observed comet of the twentieth century, and possibly in the entire history of space exploration.

Dark matter exists everywhere, around galaxies, around our own Milky Way, and throughout the universe.

So, dark matter in the universe is five timesmore than usual. But since it does not lend itself to direct observation, maybe it is worth looking for it without peering into distant galaxies, but right here on Earth (or at least within our solar system)?

The search for dark matter

According to theoretical physicist Stephen Adler ofInstitute for Advanced Study at Princeton, if the masses of the Earth and the Moon when measured together appear to be greater than their masses separately, this difference can be explained dark matter halo between them.

Adler came to this conclusion partially after afterresearch studies in which the mass of the moon was measured using lunar orbiters, and the mass of the earth using geodetic satellites LAGEOS, which have been in orbit for many years. The lasers fired at the satellites show the radius of each satellite's orbit and the time it takes for each to complete that orbit. Based on such measurements, scientists can calculate the gravitational attraction of the satellites and, therefore, the amount of mass that this attraction exerts.

This illustration shows the Earth surrounded by theoretical threads of dark matter called "hairs."

You will be wondering: Does dark matter really exist?

Then Adler looked at studies that measuredthe distance from the Earth to the Moon using lasers bouncing off the lunar mirrors set by the Apollo missions. If the Earth has an unusually strong pull on the Moon, which is about 384,000 kilometers away than the LAGEOS satellites, located about 12,300 kilometers away, the additional attraction could be from a dark matter halo between the Moon and the artificial satellites.

“Based on the available evidence that betweenThe Earth and the Moon contain no more than 24 trillion metric tons of dark matter. Such a halo of dark matter could explain the anomalies observed in the orbits of the Pioneer, Galileo, Cassini, Rosetta and short-range spacecraft, ”notes Adler.

Adler also suggests that dark mattercould have a dramatic impact on four gas giants in our solar system - Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. If these massive worlds gravitationally capture dark matter, then dark matter particles can literally crash into them - these are rare events, but enough to heat gas giants and explain why the interiors of these planets (and even the Earth) seem hotter than the known mechanisms.

Dark matter is present throughout the universe. So maybe it is on Earth too?

Possible heating of planets by dark matter is alsocould be a clue to the unknown properties of matter - for example, how often it collides with ordinary matter, or whether dark matter gathers around stars and planets, rather than evenly spreading throughout the galaxy. As Scientific American writes, if dark matter particles are their own antiparticles, as some researchers suggest, the energy released during their annihilation will heat planets much more than just collisions with atoms. Such a scenario would imply that dark matter cannot thicken much in our solar system, otherwise the solar system would be much hotter.

See also: Could dark matter be older than the Big Bang?

However, astrophysicist Annika Peter of CaliforniaInstitute of Technology is skeptical that dark matter alters the heat of planets, saying it would require "unrealistic amounts of dark matter." And Ohio State University astronomer Andrew Gould doubts that a lot of dark matter is accumulating in the solar system - he argues that gravitational interactions with planets should basically throw it out, just as they cleaned out most of the solar system's original normal matter. However, as the solar system prowls the galaxy, it can accumulate additional dark matter.

One way or another for the moment existenceany dark matter in the solar system remains as mysterious as its presence everywhere. Do you think scientists will be able to find dark matter in the near future and what will this discovery bring to humanity? We will wait for the answer here, as well as in the comments to this article.