New experiment casts doubt on claims to have identified dark matter

In the last few years it’s become generally accepted knowledge that our universe is full of mysterious dark matter which has mass but is not obviously visible to us. A fringe of physicists have even made controversial claims that they have observed this dark matter in experiments, but now a new experiment makes this claim seem more unlikely.

Dark matter is a type of subatomic particle which is theorized to exist to explain the mass of galaxies, which calculations have shown to be heavier than we would expect. The theorized dark matter must exist in order to explain the way that matter clumps together as well as the movements of stars within galaxies. Although the mathematical evidence of the existence of dark matter is strong, no one has yet been able to identify a dark matter particle despite many attempts. Two primary types of experiment have been used to search for dark matter so far: direct detection experiments, which attempt to record particles of dark matter directly when they pass through the Earth, or indirect detection experiments, which search for the subatomic particles which are created by the decay of dark matter.

Earlier this year, an experiment in Italy called DAMA/LIBRA claimed to have detected dark matter in the galactic halo using social iodide crystal detectors. The crystals of sodium iodide should produce a tiny spark of light when a dark matter particle collides with them, which is what DAMA/LIBRA observed. However, the latest experiment on the topic from South Korea has failed to detect the signal that DAMA/LIBRA found.

The South Korean experiment is called COSINE-100 and used the same type of detector as DAMA/LIBRA, and is the latest in a series of experiments which have failed to replicate the DAMA/LIBRA observations. There is a possibility that the difference in results between the two labs is due to yearly variations in the rate of collisions, with them occurring more at some times of the year than others. But most physicists are skeptical of the DAMA/LIBRA data: “I think this is one more nail in the coffin,” astrophysicist Dan Hooper of Fermilab told Science News.

The latest findings from the COSINE-100 experiment are published in Nature.

Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Emerging Tech

Brightest quasar ever seen discovered by Hubble, may be star-producing machine

The brightest quasar even seen has been observed with the Hubble Space Telescope using a technique called strong gravitational lensing. The quasar is enormously energetic and may be producing thousands of stars per year.
Emerging Tech

The enormous ‘Flying Bum’ moves toward a commercial design

A prototype of the world's largest aircraft is being retired as the company behind it prepares to build a production model. The new Airlander 10, also known as the "Flying Bum," could be ready for commercial use by 2025.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.
Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.
Emerging Tech

Lasers and bovine breathalyzer help determine how much methane cows produce

Cow farts and belches don't sound like catastrophic threats, but they contribute to the massive amounts of methane in the atmosphere. Recently, scientists set out to establish the numbers.
Emerging Tech

Researchers discover a way to make 3D printing 100 times faster using light

Researchers at the University of Michigan have invented a new method of 3D printing which is up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D-printing processes. Here's how it works and why it could prove a game-changer for 3D printing.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Emerging Tech

Short film celebrates New Yorker’s amazing robot costumes

New York City resident Peter Kokis creates stunning robot costumes out of household trash. His designs are huge, heavy, and extremely intricate, and never fail to turn heads when he's out and about.
Emerging Tech

In a first for humankind, China is growing plants on the moon

Having recently landed a probe on the far side of the moon, China announced that it managed to grow the first plant on the moon, too. Here's why that matters for deep space travel.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.