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GPS May Help Find Dark Matter

Update Date: Nov 18, 2014 07:41 AM EST

GPS may soon offer insight into understanding dark matter - mysterious invisible stuff of science fiction that makes up a great portion of the universe - say a pair of scientists. 

Scientists say they've come up with a way to search for dark matter using GPS satellites and atomic clock networks. 

Dark matter is invisible because it doesn't reflect light. The composition of the matter has made it elusive and unmeasurable by modern instruments. 

However, according to scientists, their method can change that. 

Their idea is built on the premise that dark matter might be organized as a large, gas-like collection of "energy cracks," or kinks in the fabric of space.

Scientists hope, they can detect those kinks as they interact 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," said Andrei Derevianko, of the University of Nevada, a professor of quantum physics, in a statement. "In fact, we envision using the GPS constellation as the largest human-built dark-matter detector."

Derevianko added that dark matter represents a big problem in science. According to various researches, dark energy - the force that's continuously expanding space - makes up about 68 percent of the portion that scientists know nothing about. 

"Dark matter is a big crisis in science. We only know what makes up 5 percent of the universe," Derevianko said. "It's a huge mystery."

"This type of work can be transformative in science and could completely change how we think about our universe," Jeff Thompson, a physicist and dean of the University's College of Science, said in a statement. "Andrei is a world-class physicist and he has already made seminal contributions to physics. It's a wonder to watch the amazing work that comes from him and his group."

The study was published in the journal Nature Physics

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