China’s Dark Matter Space Probe Just Detected… Something Very Interesting
2 DEC 2017
- What the team led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences found is an intriguing anomaly in DAMPE’s readings of over 1.5 million cosmic ray electrons and positrons, captured in unprecedented high resolution and with minimal background noise. “It may be evidence of dark matter,” one of the team, astrophysicist Chang Jin, told Dennis Normile at Science, while also admitting the same anomaly could be caused by some other source of cosmic ray energy.
First finding of China’s DAMPE may shed light on dark matter research
- The Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE, also known as Wukong) mission published its first scientific results on Nov. 30 in Nature, presenting the precise measurement of cosmic ray electron flux, especially a spectral break at ~0.9 TeV. The data may shed light on the annihilation or decay of particle dark matter. DAMPE is a collaboration of more than a hundred scientists, technicians and students at nine institutes in China, Switzerland and Italy, under the leadership of the Purple Mountain Observatory (PMO) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The DAMPE mission is funded by the strategic priority science and technology projects in space science of CAS. DAMPE, China’s first astronomical satellite, was launched from China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center into sun-synchronous orbit on Dec. 17th, 2015. At an altitude of about 500 km, DAMPE has been collecting data since a week after its launch.