'Earth constantly crashes through dark matter walls'
Earth is constantly crashing through huge walls of dark matter, scientists claim adding that the universe may be filled with a patchwork quilt of force fields created shortly after the Big Bang.
Observations of how mass clumps in space suggest that about 86 per cent of all matter is invisible dark matter, which interacts with ordinary matter mainly through gravity.
The most popular theory is that dark matter is made of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPS). However, years of searches for WIMPs have been coming up empty, New Scientist reported.
"So far nothing is found, and I feel like it's time to broaden the scope of our search. What we propose is to look for some other signatures," said Maxim Pospelov of the University of Victoria in Canada.
Pospelov and colleagues have been examining a theory that at least some of the universe's dark matter is tied up in structures called domain walls, akin to the boundaries between tightly packed bubbles.
The idea is that the hot early universe was full of an exotic force field that varied randomly. As the universe expanded and cooled, the field froze, leaving a patchwork of domains, each with its own distinct value for the field.
Having different fields sit next to each other requires energy to be stored within the domain walls. Mass and energy are interchangeable, so on a large scale a network of domain walls can look like concentrations of mass - that is, like dark matter, said Pospelov.
If the grid of domain walls is packed tightly enough, say, if the width of the domains is several hundred times the distance between Earth and the Sun - Earth should pass through a domain wall once every few years.
"As a human, you wouldn't feel a thing. You will go through the wall without noticing," he said.