China's 'Monkey King' detects mysterious signals in dark matter probe

Updated On : 01 Dec , 2017 , 03:07 PM
China's 'Monkey King' detects mysterious signals in dark matter probe (Representational Image)
China's 'Monkey King' detects mysterious signals in dark matter probe (Representational Image)
New Delhi:

Coming as a major breakthrough in dark matter probe, China's Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE), also called Wukong or "Monkey King", has detected unexpected and mysterious signals in its measurement of high-energy cosmic rays.

The satellite has measured more than 3.5 billion cosmic ray particles with the highest energy up to 100 tera-electron-volts (TeV), including 20 million electrons and positrons, with unprecedented high energy resolution, Xinhua reported.

The findings have brought scientists a step closer to demonstrate the existence of one of the greatest scientific mysteries.

The spacecraft was launched in December 2015 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert, about 1600 kilometers west of Beijing.

It has the highest energy resolution and particle identification ability, perfect for searching for traces of the annihilation or decay of dark matter particles, scientists say.

"DAMPE has opened a new window for observing the high-energy universe, unveiling new physical phenomena beyond our current understanding," Chang Jin, Chief Scientist of DAMPE and Vice Director of the Purple Mountain Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), said.

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"We never expected such signals", Chang said.

"All the 61 elementary particles predicted by the standard model of particle physics have been found. Dark matter particles are beyond the list. So if we find a new elementary particle, it will be a breakthrough in physics", he added.

As per the calculations made by scientists, about 26.8 per cent of the universe is dark matter and 68.3 per cent dark energy.

Bai Chunli, president of the CAS, in a satement to Xinhua said, "We should remember this day in the history of human scientific development, when Chinese scientists are no longer learners, successors and onlookers in major natural science discoveries, but, instead, they are gradually entering the center of the scientific stage."

First Published : Friday, December 01, 2017 02:54 PM

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