Even though most of us use the GPS only for location purposes, two scientists have discovered a way of detecting dark matter using the Global Positioning System as a main tool.
Maxim Pospelov, of the University of Victoria, Canada and Andrei Derevianko, of the University of Nevada, Reno are the two researchers who presented their work in front of the scientific community, throughout renowned conferences. They came up with a method that uses GPS satellites and other atomic clock networks which compare time and start looking for discrepancies, in order to detect dark matter.
Almost 68 percent of the universe is known to be as dark energy, while 27 percent of it consists of dark matter. Although it lacks means of detection and measurement, dark matter must exist in order for gravity to make sense at very large scales.
“We propose to detect the defects, the dark matter, as they sweep through us with a network of sensitive atomic clocks. The idea is, where the clocks go out of synchronization, we would know that dark matter, the topological defect, has passed by. In fact, we envision using the GPS constellation as the largest human-built dark-matter detector,”
The two scientists have started working with the data from the 30 GPS satellites that use atomic clocks to navigate. They can put the idea into practice by watching initially synchronized clocks become desynchronized as the topological defect, dark matter will pass by. The clocks are expected to emit a distinct signature whenever the discrepancies occur, thus the data received cannot be mistaken as something else. Given these facts, the GPS satellites prove to be great tools in dark matter detection.
One of the theories regarding what dark matter is actually made off, makes the ordinary person think outside of the box. To envision dark matter, one must lay aside what he already knows about normal matter – particles – and think of macroscopic imperfections in the space-time continuum.
However, there are no doubts towards the existence of dark matter. One of the examples that sustain this theory is the way light bends around galaxies. If dark matter didn’t exist, only normal matter will not be able to sustain that kind of bending.
The researchers concluded that if the clocks will go out of sync for more than one billionth of a second, dark matter will be detectable.