Dark matter makes up more than 80 percent of the matter in the universe. But up until now, it’s eluded scientists.
Yesterday, however, NASA announced a possible breakthrough. A particle detector mounted on the International Space Station may have detected dark matter. The detector is called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and it measures cosmic ray particles in space. These measurements appear to have uncovered dark matter.
“Every high school text book says the universe is made out of atoms,” says Kaku. “Every textbook could have to be re-written because we now realize that most of the matter in the universe is made out of dark matter, invisible matter. This illusive matter that holds the galaxy together.”
Kaku notes that this substance is crucial to our existence: “If it wasn't for dark matter, by the way, we wouldn't be here. The earth would have been flung into deep space. The galaxy would have flown apart." This is because the Milky Way spins 10 times faster than one would expect.
Kaku explains that this must mean that there is an invisible halo of dark matter surrounding the galaxy holding it together. "With the Hubble Space Telescope we now have maps of dark matter…by looking at the bending of starlight around the galaxies."
“If it holds up, for the first time in human history, we have detected a new form of matter other than atoms,” says Kaku. “It could be worth a Nobel Prize, in fact a second Nobel Prize for Dr. Sam King.”