This week I discovered that I’ve been under a bit of a misconception where dark matter is concerned. I was under the impression that it was very much the realm of radical, extreme science or even science fiction, and that no one in the scientific community took it seriously.
Turns out I was totally wrong about this. Actually, the majority of mainstream particle physicists think that dark matter probably exists, and there is an extensive body of robust evidence to support the theories. (That link is just to the Wikipedia article, it’s nothing fancy, but it does break down the history of research into this subject rather nicely.)
So, yeah, I was completely wrong. Whoops. My bad.
Still, it’s not that surprising that I would get this erroneous impression. After all, it’s not like we’ve ever actually detected dark matter directly. We can only infer its existence from the observable inconsistencies in gravitational fields, particularly around galactic centers. It doesn’t appear to actually interact with light or any other electromagnetic radiation in any way.
Come on, doesn’t that sound like science fiction?
I started looking into this topic this week because of an article I ran across on the NASA website. This article details a theory about how dark matter might interact with the gravitational field of Earth. It included this neat picture of what Earth’s theoretical dark matter “hairs” might look like. Here it is.
Come on, you’re still telling me this isn’t fiction? Seriously, I think I saw this on a Star Trek episode once.
But nope, this is legit science.
Still, all those particle physicists should watch out. As soon as they figure out how to harness this stuff to create some sort of infinite energy source, it’s going to turn out that there are actually sentient beings living in it who have been just as unaware of us as we have been of them, but now they’re going to be pissed at us for wrecking their world and come destroy us. Seriously, I’m like 98% sure that’s how this is going to go down. So don’t say I didn’t warn you.