Minnesota dark matter researchers say they may have struck gold

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Photo via NASA
The rumors we reported may be true: Dark matter may have been found for at the Soudan Underground Lab particle physics laboratory's Cryogenic Dark Matter Search project. The facility, run by the University of Minnesota, is about 225 miles north of Minneapolis, between Virginia and Ely.

It's big deal because scientists believe dark matter, believed to make up 90 percent of the universe, is a missing link in the effort to understand the big bang theory behind the creation of the universe. It's been detected in space. But it's never been detected on Earth.

The experts who study such theories "suggest that dark matter may be composed of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs)." The report says:

The CDMS experiment has been searching for dark matter at Soudan since 2003. Previous data have not yielded evidence for WIMPs, but have provided assurance that the backgrounds have been suppressed to the level where as few as 1 WIMP interaction per year could have been detected. ... In this new data set there are indeed 2 events seen with characteristics consistent with those expected from WIMPs. However, there is also a chance that both events could be due to background particles.

CDMS says that by summer 2010 it hopes to have ramped up the power of its detection equipment at Soudan, ready "for WIMPs to come along and provide the perfect billiard ball shots that will offer compelling evidence for the direct detection of dark matter in the laboratory."

There had been rumors that the latest edition of the science journal Nature was going to carry a report on the Soudan developments. Lat week, one of the magazine's editors shot that rumor down.

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