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Space The Almighty Buck Science

Two Big Dark Matter Experiments Gain US Support 37

Graculus writes: The Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation announced on Friday that they will try to fund two major experiments to detect particles of the mysterious dark matter whose gravity binds the galaxies instead of just one. The decision allays fears that the funding agencies could afford only one experiment to continue the search for so-called weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs.
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Two Big Dark Matter Experiments Gain US Support

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  • We'll have more information about the gravity attributes and locations of dark matter, but no deeper insight into how it connects to the physics we DO understand. I'm not trying to be a naysayer, I'm positively thrilled that we're going to find out what we can, but until we can get up close, and determine exactly what ways dark matter interacts with all other forces, its underlying nature will be a bit mysterious.

    • by joh ( 27088 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @05:29PM (#47470537)

      "A bit mysterious" is the understatement of the day... Still, it's one of the very few actual observable things that could further some fundamental new understanding of physics.

    • by pavon ( 30274 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @05:31PM (#47470545)

      We'll have more information about the gravity attributes and locations of dark matter,

      Both of these experiments aim to detect collisions of dark matter particles with their respective detectors, and if found give an estimate of the particles energy. Neither are astronomical surveys that would tell us anything about the gravitational properties or distribution of dark matter.

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        Clearly, we'd know something about the distribution of dark matter if the detector encountered a particle: 1 particle, right here. That may sound like a joke, but we know so little that any sort of estimate of dark matter density near Earth would tell us something interesting about its distribution (presumably affected only by gravity, but we don't really know beyond "not affected by EM").

    • Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What are you TALKING about? Your username may be "i kan reed" but it seems you did not choose to read the article.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You must be new here.

    • The place we're ultimately going to learn about dark matter is likely to be a combination of specialized detectors, but also terrestrial particle accelerators. Dark matter, whatever it is, may suggest the physics beyond the Standard Model that physicists so hunger to finally get some evidence of.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Scanners are detecting a large formation of WIMPS on slashdot.

  • ... that America participates in science experiments on American soil.

    We passed on Waxahachie, Tex. [scientificamerican.com] and many of the world's premier scientists are having coffee at the LHC. America could have detected the Higgs boson.

    Hopefully, we'll get lucky and find something worth contributing regarding dark matter.

    Then, America would be one of the cool peeps.

    • I doubt that even if we built the SSC that we would have found the Higgs before de-funding it.

      Consider the amount of data the LHC needs to collect to observe the Higgs and then consider what sort of technology was available in the early 1990s. The LHC requires the worlds largest ever computing grid to process the data it collects, and it generates a whopping 300 gigaBYTES per second.

      Good luck with that with technology from 20 years ago. The best CPU's from 1994 were the Alpha 21064 [wikipedia.org] which peaked out at 3
      • While your statements are correct, for fair comparison I think we should grant growth predictions to SSC that happened at LHC.

  • Hey, yo, why do two experiments? We all know dark matter. I thought we left that racism shit behind.

  • I won't claim to be a astrophysicist, but "dark matter" strikes me as similar to the "ether" posited 120-odd years ago. I'm curious to know if dark matter is simply an artifact of observational resolution, or is it really and truly a difference between accurate observation and theory.

    In particle accelerators, the Standard Model seems to be holding up well. Versus astronomical observations, not so much. In my ignorance, I wonder if this is just due to the uncertainty in observations.

    Anybody want to clue me i

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Well, you can look at error bars on galaxy rotation curve results like this [nd.edu], which is old enough to end up in an intro cosmology course. If it were just visible matter, it would be the curve labeled "disk". If you add the curve "halo" you get the total, with the small measurement error bars shown. Surveys like this [lanl.gov] show the limits of such halos being just from compact but dark objects.
    • There are several data sets that suggest the presence of Dark Matter:
      1) Orbital velocities of galaxies within a cluster are too high -- the galaxies should fly apart unless much more mass is present.
      2) Observed rotational velocities of edge-on galaxies are wrong: stars near the edge rotate too fast -- unless there's a cloud of mass beyond the observed disk.
      3) Gravitational lensing effects are too strong for the observed mass of the lensing clusters.

      • And on top of that, every other explaination that people have come up with to explain those data sets has failed.

        MOND - the idea that gravity has some extra factor that kicks in on galactic scale has yet to provide even a hypothetical answer to be tested. Last I heard, it gets complicated so fast that they haven't even been able to produce a hypothetical gravitational equation that would explain orbital velocities of galaxies let alone the other observed data.

        That the extra matter is out there in more munda

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