CERN, the European particle physics group, has discovered what appears to be in the first results from the $2 billion cosmic ray detector (formally called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer) recently installed on the International Space Station. If the discovery is indeed of traces of dark matter, this will confirm years of scientific inquiry and will be one of the biggest scientific coups of the past 25 years. If this discovery holds, astrophysicists will have a far greater understanding of the mysterious stuff that makes up roughly 75% of the universe.
NASA has announced a press conference at 1:30 p.m. ET, at which time more details will be shared with the scientific community.
Early results from the cosmic ray detector have given scientists findings which are consistent with positrons originating from the annihilation of dark matter particles in space. Other explanations for the findings are more complicated and unlikely than the dark matter explanation.
In a prepared statement, CERN spokesperson Samuel Ting said that, "as the most precise measurement of the cosmic ray positron flux to date, these results show clearly the power and capabilities of the AMS detector […] Over the coming months, AMS will be able to tell us conclusively whether these positrons are a signal for dark matter, or whether they have some other origin."
Co.Exist took a look inside CERN's labs earlier this year.