|One theory of how 'dark matter' is distributed in the universe: Models include WIMPS - weakly interacting massive particles - which are absorbed by everyone on Earth at a rate of about one a minute, as billions of the particles pass through us|
Particles of dark matter known as WIMPS - weakly interacting massive particles - are absorbed by everyone on Earth at a rate of about one a minute, as billions of the particles pass through us.
The physicists behind the theory claim the rays are harmless - and negligible next to known sources of radiation such as cosmic rays and the earth's radioactive radon gas.
'There is a chance one could cause a mutation that would be bad for you,' said Katherine Freese of the University of Michigan in an interview with Gizmodo. 'But the odds of it happening are really low.'
|A Hubble telescope image showing what astronomers think may be a 'ghostly ring of dark matter' that formed many years ago during a titanic collision between two galaxy clusters.|
WIMPs are bodies which are the most popular current theory to account for 'dark matter' - so-called because they are thought to react with normal matter, but only rarely.
'We are motivated by the fact that WIMPs are excellent candidates for the dark matter in the Universe,' say the researchers. 'Our estimates use a 70 kg human and a variety of WIMP masses and cross-sections. We find that, of the billions of WIMPs passing through a human body per second, the number that hit a nucleus correspond to almost one a minute.
'Though WIMP interactions are a source of radiation in the body, the annual exposure is negligible compared to that from other natural sources (including radon and cosmic rays), and the WIMP collisions are harmless to humans.'
Experiments seeking WIMPs tend to be buried deep beneath the ground to 'screen' them from background cosmic radiation.
WIMPS interact with matter so rarely they mostly pass through our planet.
Last year, Italy's CRESST experiment claimed to have results which seemed to tally with the theory of WIMPS.
The on-going CRESST experiment is buried 1,400m under the Gran Sasso massif in central Italy.
If they exist, WIMPs are entities that interact only with the forces of gravity, and as such are difficult to detect as they rarely interface with other particles.
Confirmation of the findings would shine some light on the mystery of dark matter, the missing, invisible link scientists have long suspected is responsible for holding the universe in the form we see.
Scientists have recently honed in on WIMPs as one of the most likely candidates to explain the dark matter theory.
The biggest question we can ask is whether `dark matter` and spirit are connected. In time we may find out more, but what an intriguing thought!