Dark matter: NASA details findings of Hubble Telescope study

Despite not knowing what exactly dark matter is, experts do know that it is essential to the Universe. The likes of NASA believe dark matter is an invisible force which holds galaxies and clusters together, and has been key in the formation of the Universe. The substance also adds mass to the galaxy, but a mass which cannot be seen or detected with scientific instruments.

Roughly 27 percent of the Universe is dark matter, but what it is remains an elusive mystery.

However, scientists know that it is there as it has mass and a gravitational pull.

Now scientists from NASA have revealed that Earth may have filaments of “hairy” dark matter springing from the planet.

In a computer generated image, one can see thousands of these hairs poking out of our planet’s surface

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NASA said: “The solar system might be a lot hairier than we thought.

“Dark matter is an invisible, mysterious substance that makes up about 27 percent of all matter and energy in the universe.

“The regular matter, which makes up everything we can see around us, is only 5 percent of the universe.

“The rest is dark energy, a strange phenomenon associated with the acceleration of our expanding universe.”

According to calculations from the 1990s, dark matter forms “fine-grained streams” of particles that move at the same velocity and orbit galaxies such as ours.

However, experts at NASA wanted to know what happens when one of these streams hits a planet like Earth.

Gary Prézeau of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California found that these streams condense into an ultra-dense filament, or “hair,” of dark matter.

He said: “A stream can be much larger than the solar system itself, and there are many different streams crisscrossing our galactic neighbourhood.

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“When gravity interacts with the cold dark matter gas during galaxy formation, all particles within a stream continue travelling at the same velocity.”

According to the researcher, the hairs have “roots” when they pass through a planet which would be the densest part of the stream.

The hairs would flow through the planet, leaving “tips” emerging out of the surface.

Mr Prézeau said: “If we could pinpoint the location of the root of these hairs, we could potentially send a probe there and get a bonanza of data about dark matter.”

By proving that these hairs exist, it could help map the interior of distant worlds.

NASA said: “Another fascinating finding from these computer simulations is that the changes in density found inside our planet – from the inner core, to the outer core, to the mantle to the crust – would be reflected in the hairs.

“The hairs would have “kinks” in them that correspond to the transitions between the different layers of Earth.

“Theoretically, if it were possible to obtain this information, scientists could use hairs of cold dark matter to map out the layers of any planetary body, and even infer the depths of oceans on icy moons.”

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