Bang goes the theory: Scientists claim dark matter that makes up most of universe ‘may not exist’

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:55 PM on 15th June 2010
Mysterious: Dark matter and energy may not exist, according to a report

Scientists have claimed dark matter and energy – the mysterious substances thought to make up 96 per cent of the universe – may not exist, a report yesterday claimed.

The two mysterious materials are believed to power the expansion of the cosmos.

However, if the evidence proves correct, it means the theory used to calculate the structure of the universe may be wrong.

Planets, stars, asteroids and gas account for just four per cent of the cosmos, according to the Standard Model of Cosmology, which analyses the big bang theory.

However, the study carried out by Durham University physicists raises the possibility that this is flawed, and there may be no ‘dark side’ of the universe, which could mean the cosmos is not expanding as rapidly as believed.

Dr Robert Massey, of the Royal Astronomical Society, which published the findings, said: ‘This would challenge greatly our assumptions about the long-term future of the universe, because the assumption at the moment is that the universe is expanding and if it isn’t that would be a huge shock.’

Theorists believe that dark matter affects the movement of galaxies by interfering with gravity, however, dark energy is considered to be of more significance.

The invisible matter is thought to be behind the reason why the universe is expanding, pushing everything apart at high-speed.

Professor Tom Shanks, who produced the report with graduate student Utane Sawangwit, said: ‘If our results prove correct then it will become less likely that dark energy and exotic dark matter particles dominate the universe.

‘So the evidence that the universe has a dark side will weaken.’

Their study is based on new data from a Nasa satellite put into orbit in 2001 to monitor big bang heat radiation.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1286668/Dark-energy-matter-exist-claim-scientists.html#ixzz0rD95mrEq

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