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“Even if we don’t know what dark matter is, we know how it must act,” said Eduardo Abancens, a physicist at Spain’s University of Zaragoza and designer of a prototype dark matter detector.
According to physicists, only around five percent of what makes up the universe can presently be detected. The existence of dark matter is inferred from the behavior of faraway galaxies, which move in ways that can only be explained by a gravitational pull caused by more mass than can be seen. They estimate dark matter represents around 20 percent of the universe, with the other 75 percent made up of dark energy, a repulsive force that is causing the universe to expand at an ever-quickening pace.
But in order for the bolometer to work reliably, it needs to become even more sensitive, and maintain that sensitivity as it’s scaled up from the 46-gram prototype to a half-ton working model, said Rick Gaitskell, a Brown University physicist who was not involved in the research. At near-absolute zero, conducting research is “quite challenging,” said Gaitskell, who spent a decade trying to make detection systems work at that temperatur