Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dark matter news

In July, the space shuttle Endeavour was supposed to bring a few things to the International Space Station. The most important one was supposed to be the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. However, as The New York Times reveal in
Change in Experiment Will Delay Shuttle’s End,
a serious problem related to the very design of key parts has been found in this gadget that should look at dark matter and antimatter through unusual patterns in cosmic rays.



All the poor souls including experts at CERN, MIT, and NASA just realized - a few months before the scheduled launch - that the helium used in the superconducting magnets would boil away in 2-3 years, effectively killing the apparatus. Some experience with the LHC "explosions" was helpful to remind the people that helium can boil, too. ;-)

While it remains a controversial issue whether they should take the new discovery about the helium boiling into account at such an advanced point of the project, they're working to replace the superconducting magnets by ordinary ones. Sometimes, when you make a mistake, you have to return to the Stone Age. ;-)

But they were told that it doesn't matter whether the space shuttle is launched once or twice - because $0.6 billion is nothing (especially relatively to the $12 trillion debt) - so nothing bad has happened. :-)

Via David Berenstein and other sources

The Physics arXiv blog informs about a new preprint by R. Foot,
A CoGeNT confirmation of the DAMA signal,
that argues that both the strange DAMA signals and the recent CoGeNT observations may be pretty nicely explained by "mirror planets" as dark matter. That's a paradigm that the dark matter sector is composed out of the isomorphic matter as the visible sector but it is decoupled. Imagine E8 x E8 heterotic string theory in which both E8 factors break in the same way and give rise to similar Standard Models etc.




See also a recent paper by Fitzpatrick, Hooper, and Zurek about their interpretation of the impact of DAMA and CoGeNT results on the theories of dark matter.

But don't get carried away by the DAMA signal. Resonaances tell us that new results by CRESST pretty much exclude the regions of parameter space formerly indicated by the original DAMA results - i.e. the new preliminary results reject the bizarre DAMA data.

The reduced amount of consistency between the teams should lead you to treat all of their claims with a grain of NaCl.

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